Revision of Section 369 of The Municipalities Act to allow for more Bylaw Infractions to be added to Tax Roll

Res #: 20-24A
Number: 20
Year: 2024
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS RMs struggle to collect bylaw infraction fines from ratepayers and are unable to put the bylaw fine on the taxes at the end of the year.

WHEREAS Section 369 of The Municipalities Act allows for very few items to be added to the tax roll.

WHEREAS RMs incur the expense of hiring a Bylaw Enforcement Officer but often do not get the money from the ratepayer. In order to collect outstanding bylaw infractions, RMs must then enlist the help of a lawyer and end up in court to collect the fine or write it off. This is a costly and timely process for municipalities.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to allow municipalities to put all unpaid bylaw infractions, belonging to RM ratepayers, on the municipal tax roll as of December 31st of the year in which the infraction occurred.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to revise section 369 of The Municipalities Act. This change will allow municipalities to better enforce compliance with respect to municipal bylaws.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

April 11, 2024

  • Section 369 of The Municipalities Act allows a municipality, in certain situations, to add amounts to the tax roll of a parcel of land. Once an amount is applied to taxable property in a municipality, the taxpayer at that address is responsible for paying the tax incurred. The amount added to the taxes becomes a tax, and a lien on the property until it is paid. In the event the property is sold any amounts added to the tax roll stay with the property, unless covered by contractual obligations during the sale.
  • Currently, a municipality may, by bylaw, add unpaid costs relating to service connections of a public utility, unpaid fees or charges for fire and security alarm services or activities, and unpaid fees related to costs borne by the municipality for removing ice and snow on the sidewalk adjacent to the property. If a municipality must remedy a contravention of a bylaw that happens on a property, it may also add the cost of that work to the tax roll once the appeal and judicial processes for the bylaw infraction have been followed and completed.
  • Amounts to be added to the tax roll should not bypass the judicial process and must generally be related to the property.
  • For road allowance alteration infractions to be added to property taxes, a couple of factors need to be considered:
    • It is important for citizens to have a mechanism for disputing a fine or a bylaw infraction. If a citizen disagrees with a charge, they are entitled to judicial process before being fined. If the fine amount is simply added to the tax roll, it bypasses a person’s right to defend themself. Rural municipalities that are faced with challenges finding pest control products in package sizes suitable for distribution to ratepayers may wish to consider using a licensed custom applicator to provide application services to alleviate these concerns.
    • In some instances, an infraction could be committed by someone other than the property owner. For example, a property owner could hire a contractor to remove a tree on the edge of a property, and if the contractor damages the road, the property owner would be responsible.
  • Regulation-making authority allows for additional amounts to be added to the tax roll by regulation. The Ministry of Government Relations can consider and consult other ministries such as the Ministry of Justice regarding whether road allowance alteration infractions are appropriate to add to property taxes and the legal implications of doing so, for government’s consideration.

Sheldon Green – Acting Deputy Minister of Government Relations