Municipal Code of Ethics Bylaws – Immunity Provisions for Municipalities from Litigation

Res #: 14-23A
Number: 14
Year: 2023
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS all rural municipalities are required to have a Code of Ethics bylaw, pursuant to Section 93.1 of The Municipalities Act.

WHEREAS aggrieved members of council, committees, controlled corporations or other bodies established by council who are not members of council, who, upon being made subject to remedial provisions of a municipal Code of Ethics bylaw, could pursue legal recourse against the municipality, rather than complying with the bylaw provisions.

WHEREAS such legal recourse taken against the municipality can cost the municipality greatly in terms of financial resources, human resources and morale.

WHEREAS municipalities placed in this situation can be there through no fault of their own, other than the legal requirement to have a Code of Ethics bylaw.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to amend The Municipalities Act to add provisions for immunity for municipalities against litigation over their Code of Ethics bylaws, unless the aggrieved party can prove that such action was taken as a result of bad faith on the part of the municipality.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

May 31, 2023

  • The Municipalities Act (the Act) provides municipalities, their councilors and staff with immunity against litigation, as long as their actions are in good faith and within the scope of the powers granted to them by legislation and This protection is in sections 339 and 355 of the Act.
  • The intent is that legislative immunity protects municipalities, councillors, and staff who act in good faith to enforce their code of ethics bylaws. It does not prevent someone from attempting legal action if they feel that council acted in bad faith, which is for a judge to determine.

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