Council Size, Vacancies and Resignations
Municipal councils on PEI vary in size. The City of Charlottetown must have a mayor and ten councillors, the City of Summerside must have a mayor and eight councillors, and the towns must have a mayor and six councillors each, but may have eight if using a ward system. All other municipalities are required to have a mayor or chairperson and between three and six councillors. There are exceptions to this rule, with some councils having more than a mayor and six councillors. Council size standards will change when then Municipal Government Act comes into effect.
Can councils expand or reduce the number of council seats?
Community councils can expand or reduce the number of people able to sit on council within the range set out in legislation. Generally, the procedure for expanding the positions on Council would proceed as follows:
- The Community's Annual Meeting ad will include a line to notify the public that council will be considering a resolution to expand the number of seats on council to X # of councillors plus a Chair.
- Council votes on a resolution at the Annual Meeting requesting approval from the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amend the Community's order to incorporation to expand or reduce the number of councillor positions to X.
- After the Annual Meeting, council submits a signed resolution sheet and formal letter of request to the Minister.
Once these steps have been taken by the Municipality, the Minister will make a recommendation to the Lieutenant Governor in Council regarding the expansion or reduction of councillor seats. If approved, the Community’s order of incorporation will be amended and a new notice place in the Royal Gazette. For more information on changing the size of a council, please see our Information Sheet on Adding or Removing Council Seats.
How can a council seat become vacant and how are they filled?
There are many ways a council seat could become vacant. A few examples of how a seat could become vacant are:
- if a councillor no longer resides in the municipality, that councillor must vacate their office,
- if a councillor is absent from the regularly scheduled meetings of the council for more than three successive months without the authorization of the council, the council may, declare that councillor's office to be vacant (except where the absence is due to illness), or
- if a councillor decides to resign from council.
Vacant positions must be filled through a by-election. For details on by-election processes for different types of municipalities, please see our Information Sheet on Vacancies on Council.
How does a councillor resign?
The resignation process contains four elements:
- a written declaration that the person is resigning;
- the signature of the person resigning on that written declaration;
- a signature of a witness, to the signature of the resigning person; and
- delivery (either by the resigning individual or by another method initiated by the resigning person) of the written, signed and witnessed declaration to the administrator.
If all four of these elements have been satisfied, then there has been an effective resignation, and the resignation is effective at the time of delivery to the administrator