Eligibility of Council Members

Res #: 20-22A
Number: 20
Year: 2022
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS all members of Council are leaders in their communities;
WHEREAS all community leaders are expected to set a positive and progressive example by their actions and intentions; and
WHEREAS voters have entrusted elected officials to manage municipal funds and make decisions that foster the best interests of the voters’ interests and monies.
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to amend The Municipalities Act to include the following:
That any member of council who falls into arrears within the municipality for which they serve, automatically be removed from their council seat and that the seat deemed to be vacant.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

September 29, 2022

  • GR concurs that persons sitting on or running for council should set a good example, including paying property taxes. However, the democratic process relies on voters to decide who the best candidate is. 
  • GR’s view is that this issue is best left to local voters, who are in the best position to decide if they want such individuals to represent them on council. Many municipalities publish information on properties that are in arrears on an annual basis, so that this information is publicly available. 
  • Government believes disqualification rules should be consistent across all municipalities. 
  • Many potential problems exist with enforcing such a disqualification. Concerns have been raised about administrators being required to verify property tax accounts of candidates and council members. Questions were also raised about what other fees and charges should constitute arrears, and how long a person needs to be in arrears to be disqualified. 
  • Government has no plan to make this policy change without full support from the sector. This issue is contentious and needs to have a full consensus of all municipal sector associations. 
  • In 2013, both SARM and the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) passed resolutions calling for disqualification of candidates who have outstanding property tax arrears. Subsequently, government proposed this amendment to The Local Government Election Act, 2015 for consideration. However, the SUMA Board then requested that the disqualification be optional, and as a result the amendment did not proceed. 

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