Last fall, we asked Nova Scotians for their input as part of our review of the Municipal Government Act. Submissions were received from municipalities, municipal organizations, villages and the public.
An initial set of minor changes are being proposed while our working groups continue their research and analysis on more complex issues.
We are also reviewing the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter. Some draft amendments are specific to the Charter. Others are the same as those proposed for the Municipal Government Act because these two pieces of legislation mirror each other in many ways and must align.
When the Municipal Government Act came into effect in 1999, it signified a major breakthrough for municipalities. It brought numerous Acts into a single piece of legislation and represented the best efforts of municipal and provincial leaders to develop a modern legal framework to guide municipalities.
Nearly 20 years later, the Municipal Government Act continues to be an important piece of legislation but it time for a review to ensure it provides a modern, practical legal framework for municipalities. We are working with our municipal partners on a comprehensive review of the legislation over several years.
Areas of focus for the review include fiscal responsibility, business and economic growth, planning and development, program and service delivery, public safety, and villages. In our fall 2015 round of consultation, some of the most frequently mentioned themes for suggested changes included:
- Incentives for economic development
- Mandatory planning
- Regional planning
- Additional revenue generating tools
- More flexibility on tax exemptions
- Easier process for municipal restructuring
- Village governance
- Fire service standards and accountability