June 01, 2017
The second edition of the Local Government Summit was held today in Ottawa, in advance of a conference for provincial and territorial ministers of municipal affairs scheduled for July in Regina. Saskatchewan municipal association presidents Ray Orb (Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities) and Gordon Barnhart (Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association) co-chaired the summit of municipal association presidents from Canadian provinces and territories.
President Barnhart, co-chair of this year’s summit stated: “It was great to meet my colleagues from across Canada and listen to their challenges. Even in a large country like ours, our communities are very much facing similar fiscal pressures. This second edition of the summit was a success and paves the way for a bright future to meet the expectations of our residents.”
The summit reaffirmed three fundamental principles to build a new relationship between provincial and municipal governments.
First, recognizing the role of local governments is essential. Several Canadian provinces are moving in this direction. Quebec’s Bill 122 and New Brunswick Bill 44 are the most recent example of progressive legislation in this regard.
Second, it is important to continue to strengthen the partnership between the two orders of government. This relationship must be based on an ongoing dialogue on the issues and increasing municipal autonomy and responsibilities.
Third, the rapidly evolving role and responsibilities of today's municipalities require an in-depth review of their revenue sources. Currently available revenue sources are no longer appropriate for Canadian municipalities.
Presidents of provincial associations concluded the meeting with a commitment to continue these annual meetings and the ongoing dialogue on our common issues. They also agreed to undertake further work on the various sources of income of municipalities across the country to find the best tools for community development.