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C.C.S.M. c. M235
The Municipal Amalgamations Act
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(Assented to September 13, 2013)
WHEREAS municipal boundaries were first established more than 100 years ago;
AND WHEREAS the boundaries no longer reflect where people live, work and do business;
AND WHEREAS municipalities need to have adequate populations to provide essential infrastructure and services to their citizens;
THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:
The following definitions apply in this Act.
"minister" means the minister appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to administer this Act. (« ministre »)
"newly amalgamated municipality" means a municipality established by a regulation made under section 8. (« municipalité nouvellement fusionnée »)
Except as otherwise provided in this Act, words and expressions used in this Act and not defined in this Act have the meaning given to them in The Municipal Act.
In this Act, the population of a municipality is to be determined by reference to the census of population taken by Statistics Canada in the year 2011.
A municipality that consists of an area with fewer than 1,000 residents must — acting jointly with its amalgamation partner or partners as identified under section 4 — prepare an amalgamation plan respecting the amalgamation of the municipality and its partner or partners effective January 1, 2015.
An amalgamation plan must be in the form approved by the minister and must address the matters that are set out under subsection 8(2).
In developing their amalgamation plan, the municipalities must provide a reasonable opportunity for members of the public to comment on the content of the proposed plan.
An amalgamation plan must be submitted to the minister no later than December 1, 2013.
The minister may, by written order, extend the deadline under subsection (4) in respect of a municipality if he or she is satisfied of the following:
(a) the municipality's amalgamation presents significant complexities which cannot be adequately considered and addressed by the deadline;
(b) the municipality's ability to participate in preparing an amalgamation plan has been negatively affected as a result of a recent natural or other disaster, such as flooding.
An extension may be made subject to the terms and conditions specified by the minister.
For certainty, an order made under subsection (5) may extend the effective date of an amalgamation to a date no later than January 1, 2019.
A municipality and its partner or partners that are granted an extension must submit their amalgamation plan to the minister by the deadline specified in the order.
To determine the amalgamation partner or partners of a municipality that consists of an area with fewer than 1,000 residents (in this section called "A") the neighbouring municipalities must work cooperatively with A, and with each other, in identifying which of them is to act as A's amalgamation partner or partners.
In identifying A's amalgamation partner or partners, preference may be given to the municipality or municipalities that have the strongest community of interest with A.
The minister may issue guidelines to assist municipalities in determining the relative strength of the community of interest that exists among them, including guidelines that emphasize the importance of municipalities continuing to deliver programs and services to Manitoba's francophone population and other linguistic minorities.
The minister may recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that a municipality that consists of an area with fewer than 1,000 residents be amalgamated with one or more of its neighbouring municipalities.
In making a recommendation, the minister is to have regard for
(a) the amalgamation plan submitted by the municipalities in accordance with section 3, if any, including the public comments obtained in the preparation of the plan;
(b) the relative strength of the community of interest that exists among the municipalities; and
(c) where the amalgamation has been referred to the Municipal Board, the findings and recommendations of the board.
Two or more municipalities, each of which consists of an area with at least 1,000 residents, may jointly submit an amalgamation plan to the minister by the deadline in subsection 3(4).
If, no later than December 1, 2013, an amalgamation plan is submitted under subsection (1), the minister may recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that the municipalities be amalgamated.
REFERRAL TO MUNICIPAL BOARD
The minister may refer any matter respecting the amalgamation of a municipality to The Municipal Board, and the board must give the minister a written report of its findings and recommendations in accordance with any terms of reference the minister has specified.
To assist the board in formulating its recommendations, the board
(a) may request a municipality to provide information to the board, and the municipality must provide the requested information in the form and within the time period specified by the board; and
(b) may, but is not required to, hold a public hearing.
If the minister refers a matter respecting a particular municipality to The Municipal Board, the minister may not recommend that the municipality be amalgamated until he or she has received the board's report.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the minister made under section 5 or 6, may by regulation amalgamate two or more municipalities to establish a new municipality.
A regulation made under subsection (1) must
(a) name the newly amalgamated municipality, in accordance with subsection 30(2) of The Municipal Act, and describe its boundaries;
(b) specify the status of the newly amalgamated municipality as an urban municipality or a rural municipality;
(c) specify the effective date of the establishment of the newly amalgamated municipality, which must not be later than January 1, 2019;
(d) prescribe the organization and composition of the council of the newly amalgamated municipality, including
(i) establishing the number of members of the council of the newly amalgamated municipality,
(ii) establishing whether the members other than the head of council are to be elected by voters of the whole newly amalgamated municipality or on the basis of wards, and
(iii) if members, other than the head of council, are to be elected on the basis of wards, establishing wards, describing their boundaries and specifying the number of members to be elected in each of the wards;
(e) provide that
(i) the members of the council of the newly amalgamated municipality are to be elected at the general election prior to the amalgamation, but their terms of office do not begin until the date of the amalgamation, and
(ii) the terms of office of the members of the councils of the municipalities from which the newly amalgamated municipality is to be established are extended to the date of the amalgamation, without those members being re-elected; and
(f) designate a senior election official for the general election prior to the amalgamation, or specify the manner in which a senior election official is to be designated.
Clauses (2)(d) to (f) apply only if the date of an amalgamation is within three months after a general election. In other circumstances, a regulation under subsection (1) must
(a) dissolve one or more of the councils of the municipalities that are amalgamated; and
(b) provide for an interim council.
A regulation made under subsection (1) may include provisions forming a local urban district in the newly amalgamated municipality, including
(a) prescribing the name of the district and its area; and
(b) dealing with one or more of the following:
(i) any matter required to properly deal with the formation, amendment or dissolution of the local urban district, whether transitional or otherwise,
(ii) the application, addition, change or substitution of a provision of The Municipal Act or any regulation under that Act.
A regulation made under subsection (1) may, in relation to a newly amalgamated municipality, contain provisions dealing with one or more of the following:
(a) assessment and taxation, which may include
(i) phasing in increases or decreases in taxes that are directly attributable to the amalgamation, and
(ii) setting different rates of taxation for areas within the municipality based on their access to services provided by the municipality;
(d) any matter required to properly deal with the amalgamation, whether transitional or otherwise;
(e) the application, addition, change or substitution of an Act of the Legislature or any regulation under an Act of the Legislature to give effect to the regulation.
The provisions referred to in subsection (5) may deal with rights, obligations, liabilities, assets and any other thing that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers appropriate to be dealt with in the regulation.
The provisions of a regulation referred to in clause (2)(d) are repealed on the earlier of the following:
(a) the date prescribed in the regulation;
(b) the day the council of the newly amalgamated municipality passes a by-law under section 79 (number of councillors) or section 87 (election on basis of wards) of The Municipal Act.
On the effective date of the establishment of a newly amalgamated municipality,
(a) all the rights and property of the municipalities that are amalgamated become the rights and property of the newly amalgamated municipality;
(b) all the debts, obligations and liabilities of the municipalities that are amalgamated become the debts, obligations and liabilities of the newly amalgamated municipality;
(c) an existing cause of action, claim or liability to prosecution is unaffected;
(d) an action or proceeding pending by or against the municipalities that are amalgamated may be continued by or against the newly amalgamated municipality;
(e) a ruling, order or judgment in favour of or against the municipalities that are amalgamated may be enforced by or against the newly amalgamated municipality; and
(f) by-laws and resolutions of the municipalities that are amalgamated continue to apply to the newly amalgamated municipality until repealed or others are made in their place by the newly amalgamated municipality.
An amendment to a regulation (in this section called the "original" regulation) made under subsection (1) may be retroactive and be deemed to come into force on or after the day that the original regulation came into force.
For certainty, a recommendation under section 5 or a regulation made under this section is not invalid by reason only that
(a) an amalgamation plan was not submitted as required under section 3; or
(b) the regulation varies or does not give effect to an amalgamation plan.
A municipality that is surrounded by land that is not part of the area of any municipality is not subject to this Act.
A municipality that is subject to subsection 86(3) of The Municipal Act is not subject to this Act.
EFFECT OF AMALGAMATIONS ON PLANNING DISTRICTS
In this section, "planning district" means a planning district established under The Planning Act.
If, as a result of a regulation made under section 8, a planning district consists of only one municipality, then
(a) the planning district is deemed to be dissolved; and
(b) all the rights, property, debts, obligations, liabilities, and employees of the planning district are transferred to and vest in and belong to the newly amalgamated municipality.
Subject to subsection (2), if, as a result of a regulation made under section 8, a municipality that is a member of a planning district is amalgamated with a municipality that is not a member of the same planning district, then
(a) the newly amalgamated municipality is deemed not to be a member of the planning district;
(b) the boundaries of the planning district are deemed to be changed so as to remove the area of the newly amalgamated municipality from the planning district; and
(c) the minister may determine the manner in which the rights, property, debts, obligations, liabilities and employees of the planning district are to be distributed or allocated between the district and the newly amalgamated municipality.
If there is a conflict between a provision of this Part or a regulation made under this Part and The Municipal Act or The Planning Act, the provision of this Part or the regulation prevails.
NOTE: These sections made up Part 3 of the original Act and contained consequential amendments to other Acts that are now included in those Acts.
C.C.S.M. REFERENCE AND COMING INTO FORCE
This Act may be cited as The Municipal Amalgamations Act and referred to as chapter M235 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.
This Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.
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