Provincial Electoral Constituency Boundaries

Res #: 9-23M
Number: 9
Year: 2023
Midterm: Yes
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Elections Saskatchewan

WHEREAS in Canada our federal constituencies are based on population, allowing the major cities of Vancouver, Greater Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, with a simple majority, to elect a federal government, and leaving the prairies and the rest of rural Canada somewhat irrelevant.

WHEREAS a similar thing is happening in Saskatchewan, where the recent restructuring based on population will result in fewer rural MLA’s and more representatives in the major urban centers, with the only exception being two northern constituencies, which are exempt from population criteria.

WHEREAS if the current pattern continues, in a few decades, Regina and Saskatoon will elect the provincial government and rural Saskatchewan will have little input.

WHEREAS the majority of the resources that fund the province are found in rural Saskatchewan.

WHEREAS there are other options such as using area and assessment to form constituency boundaries.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to review the current process to develop a fair and balanced approach to representation in government.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice and Attorney General

February 15, 2024

Establishing electoral constituency boundaries is a thorough process subject to constitutional scrutiny. In Saskatchewan, The Constituency Boundaries Act, 1993 (the ‘Act’) sets out the rules and requirements for revising constituency boundaries and stipulates a neutral, transparent process that meets requirements established by the Supreme Court of Canada.

In accordance with the Act, a Constituency Boundaries Commission must be appointed every ten years. The Commission is a neutral body that consists of:

  • A chairperson who is:
    • A judge of the Court of Appeal nominated by the Chief Justice of Saskatchewan;
    • A judge of the Court of King’s Bench nominated by the Chief Justice of Saskatchewan, after consultation with the Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench; or
    • A resident of Saskatchewan nominated by the Chief Justice of Saskatchewan; and
  • Two Saskatchewan Traditionally, the Government and Opposition each select a candidate to fill these two positions.

The Commission is required to consider and report on proposed readjustments to electoral constituency boundaries. The Act, in alignment with the findings of the Supreme Court of Canada, requires constituency boundaries to be based on the total voting population, with a permitted variance of+/- 5% between constituencies.

The Act also allows the Commission to consider the following when establishing proposed boundaries:

  • special geographic considerations;
  • a special community of interests or diversity of interests of persons residing in regions; or
  • physical features of region

The Act sets out a public consultation process for the Commission, which helps ensure that community members have an opportunity to provide input on proposed revisions to constituency boundaries.

The last Commission process took place in 2022, with the next review anticipated in 2032.

Any potential revisions to the constituency boundary process under the Act would require careful consideration, including constitutional scrutiny. The Government of Saskatchewan appreciates SARM’s input on this matter and remains committed to ensuring a fair and transparent constituency boundary process for all Saskatchewan residents.

Thank you again for your input on this important issue.

The Honourable Bronwyn Eyre – Minister of Justice and Attorney General