If you need an official copy, use the bilingual (PDF) version. This version was current from May 12, 2021 to February 25, 2022.
Note: It does not reflect any retroactive amendment enacted after February 25, 2022.
To find out if an amendment is retroactive, see the coming-into-force provisions
at the end of the amending Act.
C.C.S.M. c. W95
The Watershed Districts Act
HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:
In this Act,
"board" means the board of a watershed district; (« conseil »)
"included area" means the area of a municipality that is included in a watershed district, a proposed watershed district, a subdistrict, or a proposed subdistrict; (« partie incluse »)
"included municipality" means a municipality of which the whole or any part is included in a watershed district, a proposed watershed district, a subdistrict, or a proposed subdistrict; (« municipalité incluse »)
"minister" means the member of the Executive Council charged by the Lieutenant Governor in Council with the administration of the Act; (« ministre »)
"rateable land" means land, apart from buildings thereon, liable to taxation by a municipality under The Municipal Assessment Act, or subject to a grant in lieu of taxes under The Municipal Act; (« biens-fonds taxables »)
"resource" means the lands and waters within or available to a watershed district; (« ressources »)
"scheme" means a program developed by or for a watershed district in accordance with the purposes of the Act; (« schéma d'aménagement »)
"subcommittee" means the subcommittee for a subdistrict; (« sous-comité »)
"subdistrict" means a subdistrict of a watershed district, as the subdistrict is prescribed by regulation; (« sous-district »)
"watershed district" means a watershed district established or continued under this Act; (« district hydrographique »)
"works" means any structure or physical undertaking developed for the purpose of protecting, preserving, conserving, managing, controlling or using the resources available to a watershed district. (« ouvrage »)
The purposes of the Act are
(a) to provide for the protection, preservation, conservation, management, control and prudent use of resources through
(i) the establishment of watershed districts, and
(ii) the development and implementation of schemes by the watershed districts; and
(b) to protect the correlative rights of owners.
In administering this Act, regard must be had for the principle that a comprehensive, integrated and coordinated approach to managing watersheds as a whole promotes the health and sustainability of resources within a watershed district's boundaries.
ESTABLISHING WATERSHED DISTRICTS
A proposal to form a watershed district may be initiated by
(a) the council of a municipality, by resolution of the council forwarded to the minister; or
(b) the minister.
In preparing a proposal, the proponent must have regard for the natural boundaries of the watersheds in the area proposed to be included in the watershed district.
The minister must prepare a report concerning the proposal and give a copy of it to each included municipality.
The council of an included municipality must,
(a) within 60 days of receiving the report, determine if it supports its included area forming part of the proposed watershed district; and
(b) give a copy of its determination to the minister, as soon as reasonably practicable after it is made.
The minister may recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that a watershed district be formed if each included municipality supports the district being established.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, on recommendation of the minister made under subsection 7(5), make regulations forming a watershed district.
A regulation forming a watershed district must
(a) name the watershed district, which name must be "The [insert name] Watershed District";
(b) describe its boundaries;
(c) if the watershed district consists of two or more included municipalities, divide the district into subdistricts and specify
(i) the name and the boundaries of each subdistrict, and
(ii) the number or the method of determining the number of ratepayers to be appointed by the included municipalities to each subcommittee, the manner in which they may be appointed and any eligibility criteria and qualifications to be met by ratepayers;
(d) specify the effective date of the formation of the watershed district and any subdistricts;
(e) provide for the manner in which the first meeting of the board and the subcommittees, if any, are to be called;
(f) provide for the election or appointment of the first chair of the board, and in the case of an appointment, specify
(i) the person or officeholder to be appointed, who need not be a member of the board, and
(ii) the term of the appointment, which must not exceed two years;
(g) specify, in respect of the works of an included municipality, the works for which the watershed district is to assume responsibility for constructing, operating and maintaining;
(h) specify the amount a board may borrow, including specifying an amount above which the board may borrow but only if it first obtains the approval of each of its included municipalities.
For a watershed district that consists of two or more included municipalities, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations requiring a particular included municipality to raise the percentage of the total amount that the district requires for its operations that is prescribed in the regulation.
A municipality ceases to have any right, jurisdiction, authority or control over works prescribed under clause (2)(g).
A watershed district is a corporation without share capital, consisting of the members of its board.
BOARDS AND SUBCOMMITTEES
The board of a watershed district is responsible for managing the affairs of the watershed district in accordance with this Act, and for that purpose may
(a) study and investigate, or cause to be studied and investigated, such resources of the watershed district as may be necessary to prepare a scheme;
(b) develop and, subject to section 21, implement a scheme;
(c) transfer its jurisdiction, authority or control over any of its works to an included municipality or other person so that the municipality or person maintains or operates the works; and
(d) require the municipality to provide to the board information pertinent to a scheme.
A board is to consist of the following:
(a) for a watershed district consisting of one included municipality,
(i) four members appointed by the council of the included municipality, no more than two of whom may be members of the council,
(ii) up to two other members appointed by the board, and
(iii) one member appointed by the minister;
(b) for a watershed district consisting of two or more included municipalities that is divided into subdistricts,
(i) the chair of the subcommittee for each subdistrict,
(ii) if a chair of a subcommittee is elected chair of the board, an additional member of the subcommittee, appointed by that subcommittee,
(iii) up to two members appointed by the board,
(iv) one member appointed by the minister, and
(v) if a board has fewer than five members, or if there is a vacancy under subclauses (i) to (iii) that remains unfilled for more than 60 days, any additional number of members required to reach five members, appointed by the minister.
A person appointed to a board holds office for the term prescribed by regulation and continues to hold office until he or she is re-appointed, the appointment is revoked or a successor is appointed.
Subject to the regulations, a board must annually elect one of its members to act as chair of the board.
A subcommittee is to
(a) study the conservation requirements of the subdistrict and make recommendations to the board;
(b) promote and encourage the purposes of this Act; and
(c) act as a liaison between the councils of the included municipalities and the board.
A subcommittee must annually elect one of its members as chair of the subcommittee.
A board may make by-laws
(a) establishing the number of members of the board to be appointed by the board, the procedure for appointing or removing them, and their terms of office;
(b) respecting the calling and conduct of meetings of the board and its subcommittees;
(c) respecting how documents are to be executed on behalf of the watershed district;
(d) respecting any other matter the board considers necessary or advisable for administering the watershed district or carrying out its responsibilities.
A board may, by by-law, establish one or more standing committees as it considers necessary.
Subject to the regulations, a by-law establishing a standing committee must provide for the standing committee's composition, functions and operation and may provide that persons who are not members of the board or a subcommittee may serve on a standing committee.
A board must act in accordance with this Act and the regulations made under this Act in implementing its scheme and in exercising its other powers and responsibilities under this Act.
Except for a member of the board who may be a member of the civil service of the province; or who is in the regular employment of a municipality, the members of a board may be paid and accept remuneration for the time spent, and expenses incurred, in attending to the business of the watershed district if a by-law of the board so provides.
A secretary and a treasurer or a secretary-treasurer shall be appointed for each board.
The board may employ such employees as may be required by it to perform its duties and fix and pay their remuneration.
CHANGES TO WATERSHED DISTRICTS
The minister may recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that two or more watershed districts be consolidated on receiving resolutions to that effect from the council of each included municipality.
The council of an included municipality may request by resolution filed with the minister that
(a) the watershed district be dissolved if the municipality is the only included municipality; or
(b) the boundaries of the watershed district be amended so that the municipality ceases to be an included municipality, if the district consists of two or more included municipalities.
On receiving a council resolution under subsection (1), the minister must recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that a watershed district be dissolved or that its boundaries be amended as requested.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, on recommendation of the minister made under section 13.1 or 13.2, make regulations
(a) consolidating two or more watershed districts or dissolving or amending the boundaries of a watershed district;
(b) respecting any other matter that is necessary to give effect to the consolidation, dissolution or amendment.
A regulation dissolving a watershed district may be made effective only on January 1 of the year following the year in which the request was received by the minister, but it may be made retroactive to that date.
A regulation amending the boundaries of a watershed district so that a municipality is no longer included in a watershed district may only be made effective on January 1 of the second year following the year in which the request was received by the minister.
Subject to The Municipal Act or any other Act of the Legislature, a municipality may, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, delegate to the board any power or authority respecting the protection, preservation, conservation, management, control or prudent use of resources within a watershed district.
Before implementing a scheme, the board must obtain the written approval of the scheme from the minister.
In implementing its scheme, a board may
(a) carry out or support works inside or outside the boundaries of its watershed district, if, in the board's opinion, the works will benefit the district by protecting, preserving, conserving, managing, controlling or prudently using the resources of the district; and
(b) enter into one or more agreements with the government, a government agency, a municipality, a community under The Northern Affairs Act, a band as defined in the Indian Act (Canada), or any person for the purposes of carrying out or supporting works under clause (a).
For certainty, under clause (2)(b), a board may
(a) agree to undertake ecological goods and services projects and programs on behalf of or in partnership with others, subject to any terms and conditions that may be prescribed by regulation; and
(b) delegate the administration of such an agreement to a standing committee of the board.
In determining whether works will benefit its watershed district, a board must have regard for the applicable watershed management plan approved under The Water Protection Act.
A scheme must not be inconsistent with The Land Rehabilitation Act, The Planning Act, The Water Protection Act and The Water Rights Act, and a board must act in compliance with those Acts when implementing its scheme.
In the event of a conflict between the provisions of this Act and those of any other Act of the Legislature, except those Acts mentioned in section 21.1, respecting a scheme the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall determine which Act shall prevail; and his determination thereon is final and not subject to appeal.
A board or any member thereof or any person authorized by the board
(a) with the consent of the owner may for the purpose of a scheme enter in or upon any lands in a watershed district; and
(b) where right of entry is denied under clause (a) may, subject to the provisions of the right of entry provided in The Water Resources Administration Act, mutatis mutandis, enter in or upon any land in the watershed district.
A board or the Crown for the purpose of a scheme, may acquire lands by purchase, lease, expropriation or otherwise.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by order,
(a) authorize a board to abandon in part or in whole any works or operations of a watershed district; or
(b) authorize or require a board to construct, maintain or operate any additional works within a watershed district.
Subject to sections 25 and 26, a board must prepare an annual budget with respect to its operations.
The board must submit its annual budget to the minister for approval in the form and at the time specified by the minister.
The minister may approve the annual budget submitted under subsection (2) or may, after consultation with the board, amend it, and the board must then adopt the annual budget as approved or amended by the minister.
Except with the written approval of the minister, a board must not make any expenditure commitments that are not within the financial limits set by its annual budget.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation,
(a) define administrative costs for the purpose of this section;
(b) establish reporting requirements for administrative costs budgeted or incurred by a watershed district;
(c) set limits on the annual administrative costs that may be incurred by a watershed district.
Before February 28 of each year, a board must
(a) determine the total amount that it requires in the next fiscal year for the operations of the watershed district and any subdistricts and for any repayments due on its borrowings;
(b) for that total, determine the portion to be raised by each included municipality, which must be determined in accordance with the formula in subsection (2); and
(c) subject to the regulations, forward a statement to each included municipality that specifies the portioned amount that the municipality is to raise.
The amount to be raised by an included municipality is to be determined in accordance with the following formula:
Amount = A × B
In this formula,
is the total amount required;
(a) the prescribed percentage, if a percentage has been prescribed for the included municipality under subsection 8(3), or
(b) the amount determined in accordance with the following formula, in any other case:
In this formula,
is the value of the part of the total municipal assessment of rateable land in the applicable included area;
is the value of the part of the total municipal assessment of rateable land in the watershed district.
On receiving the statement referred to in clause 25(1)(c), the included municipality must raise the amount specified by levying and collecting a tax
(a) on the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to all the rateable land or rateable land and buildings in the included area; or
(b) in accordance with a by-law of the municipality based on the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to rateable land or rateable land and buildings within the municipality.
Where a municipality chooses to levy and collect its share of the costs of board operations under clause (1)(b) and where that municipality has lands in more than one watershed district, that municipality shall levy its share of the cost of operating all districts in accordance with that clause.
Twenty percent of the ratepayers of an included municipality may appeal the determination made under clause 25(1)(b) to the Municipal Board and the Municipal Board must either confirm the determination or make a new one, and its decision is final and not subject to further appeal.
At the times and in the manner set out in the regulations, an included municipality must remit to the board the amount specified in the statement it receives from the board.
A board may charge interest at the rate prescribed by regulation on overdue remittances.
Where an included area does not comprise the whole of a municipality, and in any year the amount collected under section 26 is not sufficient to pay the amount required to be paid by the municipality in respect of the included area, and the difference is paid by the municipality from its general funds, the municipality may, in any subsequent year, levy and collect an additional tax on the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to the rateable land or rateable lands and buildings of the municipality
(a) within the included area; or
(b) within the municipality;
for the purpose of reimbursing the municipality of the amounts paid by it from its general funds.
Subject to the regulations, a board may borrow money for purposes of its operations or for repaying, redeeming or refunding the whole or part of the money borrowed by it and secured by debentures.
A board may receive, accept, hold, possess, and enjoy such grants, devises, gifts, and bequests as are made for the use and benefit of the board by any government, corporation, or person.
Every board is trustee of the funds in its possession or control, and it shall manage and administer them as herein provided; and it shall pay to the Minister of Finance to invest on its behalf its surplus funds and any funds granted, given, or bequeathed to it that it is required or permitted to invest under the terms of the grant, gift, or bequest; and those funds shall be invested in bonds or debentures issued or guaranteed by the Government of Canada or by the government of any province of Canada, or issued by a municipality, a school district, a school area, or a school division, in Manitoba, and in no other security or form of investment.
A board shall maintain accounting records, which shall be in a form satisfactory to the Auditor General.
A board shall cause its accounts to be audited, annually at the expense of the board by an auditor approved by the Auditor General and at a fee approved in advance by him and the auditor shall file a copy of his report with the Auditor General.
The fiscal year of a board commences on April 1 in any year and ends on March 31 next following.
Any 10 or more ratepayers within a watershed district may by notice in writing, appeal a decision, determination or action of the board of that district, except a determination under subsection 25(2), within 30 days of the decision, determination or action, to the Municipal Board in accordance with the procedure set out in the regulations.
Upon receipt of a notice under subsection (1), the Municipal Board shall give the appellant, the board and each included municipality notice in writing of the time, date and place fixed for the hearing of the appeal.
Upon consideration of such evidence as may be adduced before it and upon hearing the appellant and such other parties as may appear on the appeal the Municipal Board may
(a) confirm the decision, determination, or action of the board; or
(b) deny the appeal; or
(c) make such decision, determination or order with respect to the appeal as it considers just.
The decision of the Municipal Board on an appeal is final and binding and is not subject to further appeal.
Where a board
(a) acquires any land by expropriation, purchase or lease or enters on any land for the purpose of this Act; or
(b) constructs, repairs, restores, acquires, or operates, any works; or
(c) impounds, releases, stores, dams, or alters the flow or course of the water in any river, stream, watercourse, lake, or other body of water for a scheme;
if compensation or damages for the land so acquired or land affected or injured by the action of the board, satisfactory to the owner or person having an interest in the land, has not been paid and accepted in full settlement, the owner or person having an interest may bring action in the Court of Queen's Bench against the board for the amount claimed, whether his claim is under a contract or for an alleged tort, within two years from the date on which the notice of expropriation is served or the purchase or lease or the entry was made, or the work done by the board was completed and thereafter he shall not bring any such action and his right to compensation and damages in respect of the land is terminated.
The board is not liable for damages caused to any person by any neglect or failure on its part to maintain or keep in repair any works or any part thereof, unless the person complaining of the alleged damage serves upon or sends, by registered mail to the board a notice in writing setting forth the details of, or a clear description of, the damage alleged.
The board shall within three months of the receipt of the notice under subsection (1) notify that person, by registered mail, whether or not it proposes to undertake the work required to make good the alleged neglect or failure and, if it proposes to undertake the work, the time when it will commence the work.
Where the board does not propose to undertake the work, or where the board proposes to undertake the work but does not commence the work within the time set out in the notice, the person complaining of the alleged damage may bring action in a court having jurisdiction in the matter against the board for the amount claimed within two years from the date on which he served the notice on the board.
Conditions arising from natural causes shall be deemed not to be caused by any lack of maintenance, protection, or repair of works under the jurisdiction, authority, or control of the board.
No action or proceeding may be brought against a member of a board, a subcommittee or a standing committee or an employee of a watershed district or other person acting under the authority of this Act for anything done, or omitted to be done, in good faith, in the exercise or intended exercise of a power or duty under this Act.
Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no member of a board shall, directly or indirectly, alone or with another, by himself or by the interposition of any trustee or third party, enter into a contract with the board for which moneys of the board are to be paid.
Subsection (1) does not prohibit a member of the board from receiving any remuneration or expenses in the performance of his duties as a member of the board.
Nothing in this Act prevents a member of a board from entering into a contract or agreement with the board if the aggregate of the moneys and value of consideration to be paid by the board to the member under the contract or agreement does not exceed the amount prescribed by regulation in any year.
Nothing in this Act prevents a member of a board from holding not more than 10% of the issued shares of a company that enters into a contract or agreement with the board.
Nothing in this Act applies to, or affects, The Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board or The Manitoba Water Services Board, or the powers, rights, and duties, of either of them under The Manitoba Hydro Act or The Manitoba Water Services Board Act, or under any other Act or law applicable to them or either of them.
Any person who contravenes a provision of this Act is guilty of an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $500., or to imprisonment for not more than six months, or to both.
The Minister shall make an annual report respecting the operations of the districts subsequent to the end of the period to which his latest previous report relates, and the Minister shall lay the report before the Legislative Assembly, forthwith if it is then in session, and, if not, within 15 days of the beginning of the next following session thereof.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) prescribing the term of office for members of a board and a subcommittee;
(b) respecting the election of chairs of boards and subcommittees, including the term of office of a person elected as a chair;
(c) respecting the duties of a secretary, treasurer and secretary-treasurer of a board;
(d) prescribing the procedures for meetings of a board and a subcommittee;
(e) governing the establishment and operation of standing committees;
(f) prescribing the procedures for a board to follow in developing and obtaining approval of its scheme and budgets;
(g) respecting records, including the form and content of records and the manner in which they must be maintained by a board;
(h) respecting agreements entered into by boards, including the manner in which agreements must be executed;
(i) respecting a board agreeing to undertake ecological goods and services projects and programs on behalf of or in partnership with others, including prescribing terms and conditions on a board becoming engaged in those activities, which the board must comply with;
(j) prescribing the times at which and the manner in which amounts to be remitted to a board by a municipality must be remitted and the interest payable on a failure to remit;
(k) governing notices of appeal and the procedures to be followed in an appeal under section 34;
(l) prescribing an amount for the purpose of subsection 42(3);
(m) prescribing the form of and procedure for issuing of debentures;
(n) respecting procedures for the transfer of responsibilities between a board and a municipality;
(o) respecting the form and content of annual reports;
(p) respecting any matter the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to carry out the purposes of this Act.
Land that is designated for any purpose by a regulation under this Act is sufficiently described if its boundaries are shown or its area is indicated on a map incorporated or adopted by reference in the regulation.
A regulation under this Act may be general or particular in its application and may apply to one or more classes and to the whole or any part of the province.
With the agreement of the included municipalities, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations transferring parts of the territory of a watershed district to one or more other watershed districts.
For a watershed district affected by the restructuring, a regulation made under subsection (1) may deal with the matters described in subsection 7(2) and the rights, obligations, liabilities, employees, assets and any other thing that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers appropriate to be dealt with in the regulation.
Renumbered as section 44.1.
This Act may be referred to as chapter W95 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.