Community Planning

Res #: 16-23M
Number: 16
Year: 2023
Midterm: Yes
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS there are inconsistent policy and decisions and extensive staff turnaround time within the Community Planning Branch with the Ministry of Government Relations.

WHEREAS the changes are resulting in increased demands on municipal staff to fulfill their requirements.

WHEREAS this has been an ongoing problem for many years and no changes have been made.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM request the Ministry of Government Relations – Community Planning be evaluated and reconstructed to better serve municipalities.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

December 7, 2023

  • Currently, businesses, industries, municipalities and the province are experiencing staffing shortages and turnover. The Community Planning branch of the Ministry of Government Relations (ministry) is no exception but it has successfully recruited new staff over the last two years and will continue to recruit staff as needed to fulfill its responsibilities.
  • Municipal administrator turnover is occurring across the province and new administrators are entering the workforce. The new administrators are not typically familiar with community planning processes and The Planning and Development Act, 2007 (the Act) and In addition, many new professional planners are also entering the workforce in Saskatchewan and building their knowledge and skill capacity.
  • To ensure consistent interpretation and application of the Act, the Community Planning branch provides technical assistance and resources to support municipalities and planners in meeting their obligations under the Act, should the municipality choose to adopt planning bylaws. Resources can be found on and include:
    • Explanatory Notes for The Planning and Development Act, 2007;
    • A Property Owners Guide to Subdivision of Land;
    • A Step-by-Step Guide to Subdivision;
    • The Statements of Provincial Interest Handbook;
    • The Dedicated Lands Handbook 2021; and
    • Land Planning and Development Application – a new online electronic system that has streamlined the application system for subdivisions; online payments; expropriations; and bylaw submissions resulting in a reduced timeframe for subdivision approval.
  • When a municipality chooses to adopt planning bylaws, such as an official community plan and zoning bylaw, it establishes the council’s authority and obligation to manage development for the municipality. This includes the responsibility to interpret and administer the Act as it applies to the decisions undertaken by the municipality.
  • Delays in application approval can frustrate municipalities and developers. However, these delays are often a result of municipal requirements waiting to be met, such as zoning bylaw amendments, servicing agreements or receipt of municipal reserve funds and other information.
  • The ministry undertakes continual process improvement reviews, including regulatory modernization reviews and operational improvements and welcomes any specific suggestions SARM may offer to improve services.

The Honourable Don McMorris – Minister of Government Relations, Saskatchewan Ministry Government Relations