Role of the Administrator - Municipal Government Act

The new Municipal Government Act describes the role and responsibilities of the municipal administrator including position and title, duties, delegation of authority and oversight of employees.

Position and Title

All administrators of municipalities will have the title of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the municipality in which they are appointed.

Delegation of Authority

A council may delegate specified powers, duties, or functions, by bylaw, to the CAO. The CAO may further delegate the powers, duties or functions if council passes a bylaw to that effect. CAOs will be able to delegate any of their own duties or responsibilities (those not delegated to them by council) unless they are prohibited from doing so by bylaw.

Expansion of Duties

Under the new Act, the CAO will have expanded and more clearly defined duties. The CAO is the administrative head of the municipality and reports directly to council. The CAO is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that resolutions and policies of the municipality are followed with and that its programs are implemented
  • Advising and informing the council on the operation and affairs of the municipality
  • Hiring, directing, managing, and supervising the employees of the municipality
  • Exercising the powers and carrying out the duties and functions assigned to the CAO by the council and by this or another Act
  • Notifying council if any action or inaction by council or the municipality is contrary to a bylaw or resolution of council or provincial legislation.

Clarity in Responsibilities

CAOs will be responsible for various administrative functions in municipalities:

  • Ensuring all minutes of council meetings are recorded
  • Recording the names of council members present at council meetings
  • Ensuring the minutes of each council meeting are given to council for approval at the next regular council meeting
  • Safe keeping of the corporate seal of the municipality, bylaws, minutes of council meetings and all other records and documents, funds and securities of the municipality
  • Advising council of its responsibilities under provincial legislation or a bylaw
  • Providing the Minister with statements, reports or other information regarding the municipality that the Minister requires or is entitled to under provincial legislation
  • Carrying out the official correspondence of the council according to the council’s directions
  • Maintaining an indexed register containing certified copies of the bylaws
  • Maintaining an indexed register containing certified copies of the resolutions
  • Opening one or more accounts in the name of the municipality in a chartered bank or other financial institution approved by the council and ensuring that money of the municipality is collected, received and deposited in the accounts
  • Disbursing the funds of the municipality only in the manner and to the persons as directed by law or by the bylaws or resolutions of council
  • Maintaining a complete and accurate account of assets and liabilities and all transactions affecting the financial position of the municipality in accordance with the Canadian accounting standards for the public sector, as recommended by the Public Sector Accounting Board of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada
  • Providing all financial statements and information to council when requested
  • Completing an audited financial statement on or before June 30 in each year as required under the new Act
  • Taking charge and safely keeping all books, documents and records of the municipality that are committed to his or her charge
  • Producing all books, vouchers, papers and money belonging to the municipality when called for by the council, auditor, Minister or other competent authority
  • On ceasing to hold office, delivery of all books, vouchers, papers and moneys belonging to the municipality to his or her successor in office or to any other person the council may designate
  • Carrying out other duties assigned by council.

Oversight of Employees

The CAO is the primary point of contact between council and municipal employees. No council member or member of a committee established by a council can publicly or privately instruct or direct an employee of the municipality except through the CAO. However, a council member or member of a committee established by a council may communicate directly with an employee of the municipality to obtain or provide information.

Existing Legislation: What’s in Place Currently

Municipalities must appoint an administrator or CAO.

The CAO or administrator of a municipality is responsible for the records and the finances of the municipality, notifying members of council about council meetings, being responsible for the corporate seal of the municipality and signing all agreements, contracts, deeds and bylaws.

A CAO or administrator also performs many other administrative functions relating to elections, bylaws and providing notice to the Minister and the public.

Note: This document has been 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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