Recall Act for Saskatchewan

Res #: 18-23M
Number: 18
Year: 2023
Midterm: Yes
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS there is currently no Recall Act for Saskatchewan.

WHEREAS this legislation could allow Saskatchewan residents to initiate a process that could lead to removing and replacing elected officials including MLA’s, municipal officials, and school trustees.

WHEREAS this would allow a way for elected officials to be held accountable throughout their term and not just during elections.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to establish a Recall Act for Saskatchewan.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Recall Act would cover all elected positions on any board of any organization where the members are elected.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

December 7, 2023

  • Elected officials, including Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), municipal officials, and school trustees, are elected to office by the voters every four “Recall” (or a recall referendum or recall election) is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a public vote before his or her term has ended. Recalls are initiated when a sufficient number of voters sign a petition.
  • The right of recall has not been part of Saskatchewan’s municipal or provincial election Some view recall to be contrary to council being accountable to the electorate through their democratic right to vote in/out council members every four years. Government has no plans to consider recall legislation for any level of government – provincial, municipal or school board.
  • Saskatchewan’s municipal legislation (The Municipalities Act, The Cities Act and The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010) contains a number of provisions and requirements regarding the conduct of elected municipal officials:
    • Disqualification of a council member for reasons of conflict of interest, non-attendance at meetings, failure to file and annually update a public disclosure statement, criminal conviction, fraud, or theft, and if the member ceases to be eligible for or makes a false statement regarding their nomination. A member of council who is disqualified must resign immediately. If they do not resign:
  • Council may declare the person’s office vacant, and the disqualified council member may appeal to a judge; or
  • A voter may apply to a judge for an order declaring the council member disqualified.
  • Council must have a code of ethics, which defines the standards and values that members of council must follow. The code of ethics must include a process for dealing with contraventions of the code of ethics and may include rules for censure or suspension of a council member who has contravened the code of ethics.
  • Council members must take an oath or affirmation of office declaring that they will faithfully and impartially perform their duties.
  • In addition to these requirements, council members have optional tools and resources to address the behaviour of council members:
    • The reeve or other person presiding over a council meeting may expel any unruly person (including a council member) from the meeting;
    • Provide for training of council members and for the team building of councils; or
    • Council may engage the services of a third-party mediator to assist in working through conflicts.

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