Existing Municipalities and New Municipalities - Municipal Government Act

The new Municipal Government Act identifies classes of municipalities and addresses municipal continuations as well as changes to municipal class, formation of new municipalities, restructuring of rural municipalities and municipal council size for existing and new municipalities.

Classes of Municipalities

Existing municipalities will be continued in the new Act as follows:

  • Cities will be continued as ‘City of…’
  • Towns will be continued as ‘Town of…’
  • Communities will be continued as ‘Rural Municipality of…’
  • The Resort Municipality will be continued as the ‘Resort Municipality of…’ (no additional resort municipalities will be established under the Act).

Continuation as a Municipality

Existing municipalities may continue as they currently exist, with communities becoming rural municipalities. New administration, governance and service standards will apply to all municipalities, regardless of their size. Many of these standards will be phased in over time.

Proposals to Change Class or Restructure

Existing municipalities proposing to change class or expand through a restructuring process (amalgamation, annexation or boundary change) will be required to meet new standards and criteria.

Formation of New Municipalities

Any new municipality will need to meet minimum criteria including size and assessment base described below as well as any other criteria in regulation. For cities, minimum criteria includes an estimated population of 15,000 or greater and a total property assessment value of $750,000,000 or greater. For towns, minimum criteria includes an estimated population of over 4,000 persons, but not more than 14,999 persons and a total property assessment value of over $200,000,000, but not more than $749,999,999.

Rural Municipality

The Act provides flexibility to allow for the restructuring of a municipality that does not meet the minimum criteria for size and assessment base under certain limited circumstances.

Council Size

Effective at the time of the 2018 municipal elections, council sizes for towns, rural municipalities and the Resort Municipality will be a mayor and six councillors, or a mayor and eight councillors with a bylaw to that effect. For cities, council size will be a mayor and eight councillors, or a mayor and ten councillors with a bylaw to that effect.

Existing Legislation: What’s in Place Currently

There are currently four classes of municipalities:

  • Cities
  • Towns
  • Communities
  • Resort Municipalities

The powers and processes for municipalities vary depending on their class.

Municipal classes are based on specific size or other criteria.

The current council sizes for cities, towns and communities vary. 

Note: This document is prepared by the Municipal Affairs Section of the Department of Communities, Land and Environment for general information purposes. This document should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice.
Published date: 
January 6, 2017
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