Unwarranted Annexations

Res #: 22-24A
Number: 22
Year: 2024
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS the Guide for Municipal Boundary Alterations (Annexation), November 2015 states that the Official Community Plan is the recognized statutory document guiding and identifying the growth management strategy for a municipality. Community growth should be orderly and beneficial not only to municipalities but also to the region and its residents.

WHEREAS the statement implies that a mutual growth strategy is established and respected through the boundary alteration (annexation) process and the RM’s needs and the needs of its ratepayers should not be disregarded by the will of another municipality and/or the province of Saskatchewan where Community Plans are ignored, and where the province takes on a role in “picking winners and losers”.

WHEREAS when statutory planning documents are ignored, this leaves Rural Municipalities (RMs) at a significant disadvantage when boundary issues including annexations, are disputed.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government for a review of the Guide for Municipal Boundary Alterations (Annexation), November 2015 and related legislation to clearly define the requirements for a municipal boundary alteration (Annexation), to avoid unwarranted and baseless applications where the applicant municipality cannot meet a minimum threshold of the demonstrated need of land for growth purposes as stated in a mutually accepted statutory planning document and recognized growth strategy.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

April 11, 2024

  • Municipalities are a level of government with the authority to make proposals regarding boundary alterations that support the public interest.
  • Municipalities are encouraged to coordinate growth plans and opportunities with their neighbours. Options include policies within official community plans, intermunicipal development agreements, and regional planning (both formal and informal).
  • Overwhelmingly, municipalities are successful in working with their partners to achieve consensus on boundary alterations.
    • Since 2007, 97% of municipal boundary alterations were completed with complementary resolutions from the affected municipalities.
  • The boundary alteration process contains several opportunities for municipalities to resolve any potential disputes.
    • Applications for boundary alteration must include resolutions of agreement from all
      municipalities involved;
    • If complementary resolutions are not received, (e.g., where one party disagrees with the proposal), mediation is required prior to an application being submitted to the
      Saskatchewan Municipal Board; and
    • If disputes still exist following mediation, an application may be made to the SMB for a decision.
  • Municipalities are encouraged to utilize education and training materials when navigating legislative processes and working with their neighbours. Municipalities with questions are encouraged to contact the Ministry of Government Relations (ministry) for support.
  • The ministry would be pleased to consider any suggested changes for the guide from SARM.

Sheldon Green – Acting Deputy Minister of Government Relations