Timelines for Amendments to the Local Government Elections Act
Whereas the Local Government Elections Act and its Regulations require amendments to the procedures with respect to municipal and school board elections; and
Whereas the next municipal and school boards election is to be held on November 13, 2024; and
Whereas in order for municipalities to conduct a fair and equitable election process and provide information to the municipality’s councils to consider options and recommendations, a minimum of one (1) year prior to the next election date is required to adequately review legislation and prepare project plans; and
Whereas the Act restricts the Returning Officer from conducting various procedural duties outlined in the Act in order to conduct an efficient and effective election, such as the authority to establish polling places and setting deadlines for voting procedures; and
Whereas the Act requires significant changes to address voting procedures when utilizing vote counting equipment, as most Saskatchewan cities are utilizing electronic vote counting in their municipal elections; and
Whereas the forms and templates in the Regulations are outdated and inconsistent with the Act;
Therefore be it resolved that SUMA advocate the Provincial Government to ensure that required legislated changes to the Local Government Elections Act and Regulations be completed at least one (1) year in advance of the scheduled local government elections.
ACTS AFFECTED: The Local Government Elections Act
REGION/SECTOR AFFECTED: All
- The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to ensuring local government elections are efficient and fair.
- The Ministry of Government Relations (GR) regularly reviews The Local Government Election Act, 2015 (LGEA) to respond to stakeholder concerns. GR regularly surveys the municipal sector for suggestions for improvements to the LGEA, the last time being right after the 2020 elections.
- In the event of changes to the LGEA, GR would work closely with stakeholders to develop the amendment package, and it will review the suggestions contained in the resolution for government's consideration.
- If amendments are made to the LGEA this year, they would be passed in the Spring 2023 Session of the Legislature, well in advance of the local government elections currently scheduled for November 2024. Amendments are published and publicly available once passed in the legislature, even if they do not come into effect until the following calendar year.
- The amendments to the LGEA mentioned in the resolution's background that came into force January 1, 2020, were introduced in the legislature in fall 2018, debated and assented to in the legislature in spring 2019 and discussed with stakeholders as early as December 2017. This gave local election officials significant time to become aware of and prepare for the changes.
- Each time the LGEA is amended, GR reviews and amends the regulations to align with the changes, and to address any other outstanding issues in consultation with stakeholders. This naturally means regulation changes must follow the coming into force of the changes to the LGEA.