The Honourable Krista Lynn Howell, Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, today released the Joint Working Group Report and Recommendations on Regionalization. The full report can be found here. A profile on the current make-up of communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and other information can be found in the backgrounder below.
Minister Howell is available to media today prior to 2:00 p.m. for virtual one-on-one interviews. To schedule an interview contact Lynn Robinson at [email protected].
The Joint Working Group was established to build on consultations and research that have occurred and to make recommendations to the minister on a plan for regionalization. The group was comprised of representatives of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, the Professional Municipal Administrators and representatives from the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.
Some of the key recommendations include:
- Establishing a regional governance structure to provide regional services to all residents of the province to achieve economies of scale;
- Ensuring a local voice for all residents of the province;
- Municipalities to retain autonomy and provide local governance and services to residents within their boundaries;
- Most regions to encompass a population range of 5,000 to 50,000 residents, taking into account the unique geography and population demographics in the province;
- Regional bodies to be given taxation authority for properties outside municipal boundaries and the ability to implement user fees for services to municipalities where provided.
- Most municipalities in Labrador, Indigenous Community Governments, Indigenous communities and large urban municipalities with more than 11,000 residents, to receive special considerations given factors such as geography and current governance structures.
The recommendations were informed by best practices across the country, province-wide consultations, research, and surveys with joint councils, municipalities, and residents in Local Services Districts and Unincorporated Areas.
Regionalization can occur in many different forms. A wide spectrum of models have been implemented across Canada. A thorough review and analysis of the recommendations will begin immediately with the goal of finalizing a comprehensive plan for regionalization for the province.
“The aim of a regional model is to provide representation for all residents while ensuring they receive an optimal level of service. I welcome the report of the Joint Working Group and thank them for their recommendations. Making necessary changes is the only way to maintain key services, and ensure infrastructure and economic development opportunities. We want vibrant and sustainable communities that work together to enhance the quality of life for all residents”.Honourable Krista Lynn Howell
Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs
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Municipal and Provincial Affairs
Current Profile of Local Governance
- Newfoundland and Labrador has 560 individual communities:
- 275 Municipalities and Inuit Community Governments (pop. 466,600 or 91 per cent)
- 172 Local Service Districts (pop. 33,300 or 6.5 per cent)
- 120 + Unincorporated Areas (pop. 13,000 or 2.5 per cent)
- Of these 560 communities, over 500 have populations less than 1,000.
- Compared to other Atlantic Canadian provinces:
- Nova Scotia has just 49 local government entities.
- New Brunswick recently released a plan to reduce entities from 340 to 90.
Some community challenges:
- 211 municipalities experienced declining populations from 2011 to 2016, with 62 municipalities’ population declining by over 10 per cent.
- Compounding population decline is an aging population. In 2016, the median age was 46, up from 38 in 2001 and 30 in 1991.
- Boil water advisories are in place in just over 170 communities across the province. Many communities are unable to afford or maintain water systems.
- In recent municipal elections, almost 50 per cent of municipal councils were either acclaimed or special elections were required to fill seats.
Benefits of a regional approach to governance:
- Increase community cooperation and collaboration;
- Increased regional economic development opportunities;
- Good local governance and a local voice for all residents;
- Ability to deliver local services more cost-effectively through economies of scale;
- Better and more efficient local services;
- Fair and equitable taxation;
- Better integrated planning; and,
- Professionalized municipal service delivery.