Last Updated: September 25, 2009
With civic elections just around the corner, people may want to know who can run for election, how local governments are elected and the responsibilities of members of a local council.
A person can run for election in a municipality if they are at least 18 years old and a Canadian citizen. There are also residency requirements which vary depending on the type of municipality. In the case of a village, town, or city, the person seeking to run must have lived in that municipality for at least three months and in Saskatchewan for at least six months. In the case of a resort village, a person can run for election if they or their spouse has resided in that resort village or owned land in it for three months. In the case of a rural municipality, a person can run for election if they are eligible to vote in that rural municipality.
Each municipality elects its own local council. Rural municipalities elect a reeve and councillors and all other types of municipalities elect a mayor and councillors. In some municipalities councillors may be called aldermen. In urban and northern municipalities (cities, all kinds of towns and villages, and northern hamlets) general elections are held every three years. In rural municipalities elections are held every year. Elections for the reeve and half the councillors are held one year and elections for the other half of the councillors are held the next year.
Unlike other elections, municipal elections are held on a fixed date. In most urban municipalities general elections are held on the fourth Wednesday of October. In resort villages general elections are held on a Saturday in July. Northern municipalities can choose the second last or the last Wednesday in September or the first Wednesday in October. Rural municipalities have their elections on the third Wednesday after close of nominations. Nominations generally close on the third Monday in October.
All eligible voters in the municipality can vote for the mayor or the reeve (if it is a rural municipality). Other members of local councils in a rural municipality are elected from each division of the municipality. Urban municipalities may be divided into wards where one councillor is elected from each ward. Otherwise the required number of councillors is elected from the community as a whole.
To vote in municipal elections a person must be at least 18 years old and a Canadian citizen. For most urban and northern municipal elections a person must also have lived in Saskatchewan for at least six months and lived in or owned property in the municipality for at least three months. Because some people from other provinces live in Saskatchewan resort villages during the summer, people can vote in resort village elections even if they have not lived in Saskatchewan for six months. To vote in a election for a resort village a person must have lived in, owned, or leased property in the village for at least three months or be the spouse of a person who has. In most rural municipalities voters must have resided in the RM for at least six months or own land in the RM or be the spouse of such an individual.
Once elected, members of local councils have certain powers and duties. A councillor of a city, town, village or rural municipality has a number of duties including the duty to…
- represent the public and consider the well-being and interests of the municipality
- participate in developing and evaluating the policies, services and programs of the municipality
- participate in council meetings
- ensure that administrative practices and procedures are in place to give effect to the decisions of council
- keep in confidence matters discussed in private at a council or council committee meeting until discussed at a meeting held in public
- maintain the financial integrity of the municipality
ISBN/ISSN number: 1918-1728