Media

Media releases from SUMA.

Training Partnership to Build Capacity in Saskatchewan Communities

September 19, 2017

The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) and Southeast College are pleased to be partnering to offer Municipal Management Essentials (MME). This management training program is targeted to meet the needs of employees and elected officials in Saskatchewan hometowns.

The workshops include topics such as time management, organizational skills, communicating effectively, conflict management, safety planning and general leadership skills. Workshops are offered in conjunction with SUMA conventions and around the province to ensure as many SUMA members as possible can take in this opportunity.  

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SUMA and MCoS Encourage Welcoming and Inclusive Communities Through Toolkit

August 28, 2017

The Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS) and the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) are encouraging Saskatchewan hometowns to commit to the Welcoming and Inclusive Communities (WIC) | #WelcomeHome150 initiative. To support the initiative, the two organizations are drawing attention to a toolkit designed specifically for Saskatchewan communities.

“Our hometowns are where the people of Saskatchewan come together — to live, work, and play,” said SUMA President Gordon Barnhart. “These hubs of activity are where various groups and types of people can build connections, making their communities stronger and more vibrant. This toolkit helps our hometowns facilitate those connections, making our hometowns beacons of welcome and inclusivity — SUMA encourages all our members to make the most of this resource.”

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Mayors Summer School with SUMA

August 21, 2017

Mayors and deputy mayors from more than 40 Saskatchewan hometowns are spending August 20–22 on the University of Regina campus filling their tool kit with new skills, knowledge, and confidence as they build networks with their peers around the province. The one-of-a-kind experience is put on by the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) as part of our core function to build capacity for members. This is the third Mayors Summer School, but the first one since last fall’s municipal elections.

Read more in the full media release below.

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SUMA Reacts to Premier Wall’s Retirement Announcement

August 10, 2017

In response today’s announcement that Premier Brad Wall will retire from Saskatchewan politics, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) thanks him for his years of service, and looks forward to continued work with the provincial government.

“As a non-partisan organization, SUMA has had the pleasure of working with many premiers since our inception more than a century ago,” said SUMA President Gordon Barnhart. “We appreciate Premier Wall’s engagement with our organization during his time in Saskatchewan politics. SUMA will continue to work on behalf of Saskatchewan’s hometowns with his successor and all those who follow.”

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SUMA and SARM Respond to Bank and Credit Union Closures in Saskatchewan

July 14, 2017

The spate of recent bank and credit union closures in hometowns across Saskatchewan is raising concern for both the associations representing municipalities in the province. The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) want to ensure residents have access to banking close to home.

“SUMA believes in the importance of access to financial services for local governments, businesses, and residents in Saskatchewan’s hometowns,” said SUMA President Gordon Barnhart. “While we understand the financial industry needs to adjust to a changing landscape and an increase in online banking, we are concerned about these closures.”

Businesses owners and residents of rural and small-town Saskatchewan rely on convenient access to banking. The loss of banks and credit unions affects their ability to conduct business, and is compounded by the potential to lose business when locals are travelling to another community to do their banking. Farmers and ranchers rely on closer contact with loan officers within their local bank.

“SARM too understands the importance of financial services for local business and residents in rural Saskatchewan,” stressed Ray Orb, President of SARM. “Although we understand the trend toward online and mobile banking, rural broadband connectivity and reliability continues to be an issue for rural Saskatchewan, and the closure of rural banks across the province is cause for concern.”

At minimum, SUMA hopes these financial institutions will consider providing the full suite of services available at the counter through ATMs. This would allow everyday banking to continue in Saskatchewan’s hometowns, and provide access to more residents, businesses, and local governments.

Both associations recognize the important role the bank and credit union plays in rural and small-town Saskatchewan, and hope RBC, TD, CIBC and Credit Unions will reconsider their decision. They welcome the opportunity to discuss solutions for residents, business owners, and local governments across our province.

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SUMA CEO Retiring This Fall

June 26, 2017

Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) President Gordon Barnhart announced today that Laurent Mougeot is stepping down after 12 years as SUMA’s Chief Executive Officer.

Mougeot’s last day will be September 22, 2017. A search for SUMA’s new CEO will start in the coming weeks.

“Laurent has been a strong leader on the local government scene,” said Barnhart. “He has been an invaluable advisor and a good friend to many in the municipal world — in Canada and abroad. A true career civil servant, Laurent has worked with northern communities, rural municipalities, and the entire urban sector. I expect that he will continue to make a significant contribution to local governance in whatever role he decides to take on in the future. Our Board and staff will miss his wise counsel and his sense of humour.”

Mougeot said he plans to take some time off and travel before considering new opportunities.

“Forty years goes by quickly when one enjoys work as much as I did. I have met and worked with so many great people and developed strong friendships.” Mougeot said. “SUMA and our member municipalities play a key role in defining our quality of life. Every day we all access at least half a dozen of municipal services without ever thinking about the complexity of our municipal operations. Local governments matter a lot in our lives!”

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Local Government Summit

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.

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Towns and Villages Gather at SUMA Sector Meeting

May 25, 2017

More than 100 representatives from Saskatchewan towns and villages are meeting in Saskatoon today for the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) annual stand-alone sector meeting.

“This is a great chance for our members to discuss common concerns and solutions,” said Vice-President of Towns Rodger Hayward. “It’s the third year we’ve held a meeting like this outside our annual convention, because the response has continued to be so positive. Hometowns are where innovation happens — necessity is the mother of innovation after all — and SUMA is happy to facilitate these important discussions.”

“SUMA’s smaller members have a lot of knowledge to share,” agreed Vice-President of Villages, Resort Villages, and Northern Municipalities Mike Strachan. “These meetings are where we get to work together, sharing what works and finding new solutions. Everyone wins when we work together.”

Along with time to discuss shared issues and solutions, attendees will hear from Government Relations Minister Donna Harpauer and see a presentation on solid waste management, delivered by staff from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment.

“I know I speak for my co-host Mayor Strachan when I say it’s a pleasure to host an event like this,” said Hayward. “We are especially happy to have Minister Harpauer joining us. SUMA and our members always appreciate the chance to hear from our counterparts in the provincial government.”

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SUMA Renews Call for Meaningful Consultation as Bill 64 Becomes Law

May 12, 2017

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Province’s Bill 64 Strips Hometowns of Revenues and Rights

April 24, 2017

The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) voiced its objections again today against Bill 64, An Act to amend The Power Corporation Act and The SaskEnergy Act.

“Bill 64 strips 109 hometowns of payments in lieu they are legally entitled to, and gives the provincial government the power to redirect these royalties to the general revenue fund,” said SUMA Vice-President of Cities, Bob Maloney. “Even worse, the bill strips hometowns of their legal right to defend those agreements before the courts or be compensated for their loss.”

Responding to comments last week from Government Relations Minister Donna Harpauer, SUMA Vice-President of Towns Rodger Hayward said “She asks if it’s reasonable for two orders of government to spend money to fight it out in court. We ask if it’s reasonable to pass legislation that denies local governments the ability to defend legal agreements — or be compensated for this loss of revenue.”

These agreements covered capital investments and they included a guarantee that the municipality would forever get royalties on future sales of power. 

Read more in the full release below.

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