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SNL1995 CHAPTER M-20.1

MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS ACT

Amended:

2000 c13; 2004 c10; 2012 c29; 2017 c10 s20

CHAPTER M-20.1

AN ACT RESPECTING THE ADMINISTRATION OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS

(Assented to December 21, 1995)

Analysis



Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows:

Short title

        1. This Act may be cited as the Municipal Affairs Act.

1995 cM-20.1 s1

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Definitions

        2. In this Act

             (a)  "department" means the department presided over by the minister;

             (b)  "land" means real property and includes a right or interest in, to, over, under or affecting land, including rights-of-way, works, water, water rights, water powers and water privileges;

             (c)  "minister" means the minister responsible for the administration of this Act;

             (d)  "municipal area" means the area in which a municipal authority has jurisdiction;

             (e)  "municipal authority" means

                      (i)  the City of Corner Brook ,

                     (ii)  the City of Mount Pearl ,

                    (iii)  the City of St. John's ,

                    (iv)  a local service district committee or the council of a town, community or region constituted or continued under the Municipalities Act, 1999,

                     (v)  a regional government established by or under an Act, and

                    (vi)  a regional service board;

          (e.1)  "regional service board" means a regional service board established or continued by the Regional Service Boards Act, 2012 ;

             (f)  "waterworks" means a public, commercial or industrial works for the collection, production, treatment, storage, supply and distribution of water, or a part of those waterworks; and

             (g)  "works" includes all property, buildings, erections, plant, machinery, installations, materials, dams, canals, devices, fittings, apparatus, appliances and equipment.

1995 cM-20.1 s2; 2012 c29 s1; 2017 c10 s20

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Waterworks

        3. (1) Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council and to the Environmental Protection Act, and regulations and orders made under that Act, the minister may by himself or herself or through a body approved by the minister, construct, take over, operate or manage those waterworks that it may be in the public interest to construct, take over, operate or manage, and the minister or that body approved by the minister shall have all powers for or incidental to the construction, taking over, operation or management, including powers to set user charges that the minister or that body considers desirable and charge and collect from a municipal authority or person user charges.

             (2)  The user charges referred to in subsection (1) may be set at a uniform rate or at different rates for different types of use or for different municipal authorities or persons.

             (3)  Where it is necessary, to give effect to the purpose of this section, to acquire, by expropriation, land, the expropriation may be made in the manner prescribed by thePublic Utilities Acquisition of Lands Act for the expropriation of land or an interest in land by a public utility, and compensation shall be assessed and paid in the manner provided by that Act.

1995 cM-20.1 s3; 2017 c10 s20

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Inspection of municipal records

        4. (1) Inspectors shall be appointed in the manner authorized by law, and they shall, as required by the minister, examine and inspect all books of record and account, all bank books, assessment and collection rolls and all other papers and matters belonging to a municipal authority.

             (2)  The books and records of every municipal authority shall be inspected by an inspector under the authority of subsection (1) and the minister may order a special inspection in the case of a municipal authority whenever the minister considers it advisable or upon the request of the municipal authority setting out clearly the reason why, in the opinion of the municipal authority, the special inspection is considered necessary.

             (3)  An inspector has power to require the attendance of an officer of the municipal authority or of another person whose presence the inspector may consider necessary during the course of his or her inspection and the inspector has the same power that is exercisable by a judge or court in civil cases to compel the attendance of the officer or person before him or her, to compel the production of documents and to take evidence under oath or affirmation and to administer the oath or affirmation.

             (4)  Whenever required to do so by an inspector, an officer of a municipal authority shall produce for examination and inspection all books, records, papers, documents and other property of the municipal authority in his or her possession.

             (5)  After the completion of the inspection of the books and records of a municipal authority, the inspector shall make a report on the inspection to the minister and to the municipal authority in the form prescribed by the minister.

             (6)  An inspector shall see that the regulations made by the minister respecting the methods of bookkeeping, accounting, recording and auditing of municipal affairs are carried out by the officers of a municipal authority.

             (7)  A person summoned in accordance with subsection (3) or required to produce in accordance with subsection (4) who neglects or refuses to attend and be examined or to produce for examination and inspection a book, record, paper, document or other property which that person is required to produce is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a penalty of $200 and to a further penalty of $20 for every day during which that person neglects or refuses to do so.

             (8)  All officers of the department shall by virtue of their office have the powers of inspectors appointed under this section for the purpose of this Act.

1995 cM-20.1 s4; 2004 c10 s1

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Statement of accounts by banks

        5. A bank or agency of a bank or another similar institution carrying on business in the province shall, upon request of the minister, provide the minister with a statement showing the balance or condition of the account of a municipal authority having an account with that bank or agency, together with particulars of the account that the minister may require.

1995 cM-20.1 s5

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Procedure on irregularity

        6. (1) Where the minister is satisfied, upon the report of an inspector appointed under section 4 or in another manner, that the affairs of a municipal authority are managed in an irregular, improper or improvident manner, the minister may by order in writing

             (a)  direct the municipal authority or an officer of the municipal authority to take action that the minister considers necessary or advisable in the circumstances; or

             (b)  subject to the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, dismiss the municipal authority or a member of the municipal authority.

         (1.1)  Where the minister is satisfied, upon the report of an inspector appointed under section 4 or in another manner, that during a previous term of office of a member of a municipal authority, the member managed the affairs of the municipal authority in an irregular, improper or improvident manner, the minister may by order in writing

             (a)  direct the municipal authority to take the action against the member that the minister considers necessary or advisable in the circumstances; or

             (b)  subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, dismiss the member of the municipal authority.

             (2)  Where direction given by the minister under paragraph (1)(a) is not carried out to the minister's satisfaction, the minister may by order in writing

             (a)  dismiss an officer of the municipal authority; or

             (b)  subject to the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, dismiss the municipal authority or a member of the municipal authority.

             (3)  In the case of the dismissal of a municipal authority or of a member of a municipal authority, the minister may by order in writing direct the election of a new municipal authority or of a member to take the place of the authority or member dismissed, and, where an officer is dismissed, the minister may appoint another officer in his or her place and prescribe the remuneration which shall be payable to him or her by the municipal authority.

             (4)  Notwithstanding anything which may be to the contrary in the Municipalities Act, 1999, where an election is held under subsection (3) a member of the dismissed municipal authority and a member dismissed from a municipal authority is not qualified to be elected as a member of the new municipal authority or as a member of the municipal authority from which he or she was dismissed or of a different municipal authority where the election is held within 2 years after the date of the dismissal.

             (5)  The minister may, upon the dismissal of a municipal authority, upon the failure to nominate and elect a municipal authority where the minister has ordered a new election under subsection (3), or where the number of members or councillors of a municipal authority are less than a quorum, appoint, by order in writing, an official administrator or a commission of administration of 3 persons.

         (5.1)  Notwithstanding subsection (3), in the case of the dismissal of a regional service board or a member of a regional service board, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may appoint a new chairperson or the minister may appoint one or more new members in accordance with the Regional Service Boards Act, 2012 to take the place of the board or member dismissed, and, where an officer is dismissed, the minister may appoint another officer in his or her place and prescribe the remuneration which shall be payable to him or her by the board.

         (5.2)  Where an appointment is made under subsection (5.1), a member of a dismissed regional service board and a member dismissed from a regional service board is not qualified to be appointed as a member of the new regional service board or as a member of the regional service board from which he or she was dismissed or of a different regional service board where the appointment is made within 2 years after the date of the dismissal.

         (5.3)  Notwithstanding subsection (5), the minister may, upon the dismissal of a regional service board or where the number of members of a regional service board are less than a quorum, appoint, by order in writing, an official administrator or a commission of administration of 3 persons.

             (6)  Where the minister appoints an administrator or commission under this section, sections 250 to 261 of the Municipalities Act, 1999 apply with the necessary changes.

1995 cM-20.1 s6; 2000 c13 s1; 2012 c29 s2; 2017 c10 s20

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Plebiscites

        7. (1) The minister may order that a plebiscite be held in an area defined in the order to ascertain the views of the residents of that area on a matter related to local government.

             (2)  An order made under subsection (1) may

             (a)  set the date of the holding of the plebiscite;

             (b)  set the question to be voted on in the plebiscite; and

             (c)  appoint a returning officer and other persons to administer the holding of the plebiscite.

             (3)  The results of a plebiscite held under subsection (1) are not binding on the minister.

1995 cM-20.1 s7

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Voters

        8. (1) A person who

             (a)  is a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or over; and

             (b)  has resided in the area in which the plebiscite is to be held for a period of not less than one year immediately before the date of the plebiscite,

may vote in a plebiscite ordered under section 7.

             (2)  The minister may direct the taking of a list of voters to ascertain those persons entitled to vote in a plebiscite ordered under section 7.

1995 cM-20.1 s8

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Regulations re plebiscites

        9. The minister may make regulations

             (a)  prescribing the form of the ballots and other documents to be used in a plebiscite;

             (b)  prescribing the fees to be paid to a returning officer and other persons administering a plebiscite;

             (c)  prescribing the procedure for giving notice of a plebiscite; and

             (d)  for other purposes related to the holding of a plebiscite.

1995 cM-20.1 s9

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Regulations

      10. (1) The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations

             (a)  necessary or desirable for the carrying out of the minister's powers, functions and duties under this Act;

             (b)  prescribing the system of bookkeeping, accounting, recording and auditing to be used by municipal authorities and officers or employees of municipal authorities;

             (c)  prescribing books and forms to be used by municipal authorities and officers or employees of municipal authorities in their bookkeeping, accounting, recording and auditing;

             (d)  respecting a matter or thing conducive to a thorough and systematic conduct of their affairs by municipal authorities and the officers and employees of municipal authorities;

             (e)  providing for the holding of inquiries into the operation of this Act and into a charge or complaint that a person who has contravened this Act or the regulations, or has made a false statement in a form, return, account or statement required to be completed or made under this Act or the regulations, or into other matters arising in the administration of this Act, and providing that the person holding the inquiry shall have all of the powers that are or may be conferred upon a commissioner by or under the Public Inquiries Act, 2006, including the power to take evidence under oath or affirmation; and

             (f)  generally, to give effect to the purpose of this Act.

             (2)  The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may, in regulations made under subsection (1), prescribe penalties for contravening those regulations.

             (3)  For the purpose of paragraphs (1)(b) and (c), the minister may furnish municipal authorities with sample sets of books and forms which the minister considers necessary or advisable for the proper carrying out of the regulations.

             (4)  The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may, with respect to paragraphs (1)(b) and (c), prescribe different systems, books and forms for the several classes of municipal authorities, may prescribe a specific system and specific books and forms for a specified municipal authority and may exempt a specified municipal authority from compliance with some or all of the regulations.

1995 cM-20.1 s10; 2017 c10 s20

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Intermunicipal questions

      11. The minister has power to settle, adjust and decide questions arising between different municipal authorities respecting the rights, powers and duties conferred upon them by an Act.

1995 cM-20.1 s11

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Entry on land

      12. (1) The minister, after giving

             (a)  to the owner of land, where the owner is known and available and can easily be contacted; or

             (b)  to the occupier of occupied land, whether or not the occupier is the owner of the land, where the occupier lives on a part of the land or is known and available and can easily be contacted,

reasonable notice, may authorize an engineer, agent, servant or worker employed by or under the minister to enter into and upon the land and survey the land and make those borings or sink those trial-pits and cut those trees that the minister considers necessary relative to the work under his or her control and where agreement cannot be reached between the minister and the party having ownership of the land as to compensation to be paid, the amount of compensation shall be ascertained in the manner provided by law for assessing the compensation payable where land is expropriated.

             (2)  The minister shall, by his or her engineers, agents, servants and workers,

             (a)  in doing anything authorized by subsection (1), exercise reasonable precautions to prevent fires; and

             (b)  fill in, as soon as practicable, the borings and trial-pits referred to in subsection (1), as nearly as reasonably possible to the condition existing before the borings were made and the trial-pits were sunk.

1995 cM-20.1 s12

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Prohibition

      13. A person shall not

             (a)  obstruct or interfere with an engineer, agent, servant or worker of the minister engaged in exercising on behalf of the minister power under this Act; or

             (b)  interfere with an erection placed upon or work done on land under this Act.

1995 cM-20.1 s13

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Offences

      14. (1) A person who contravenes this Act or the regulations is guilty of an offence and is, where no penalty is specifically provided in this Act or the regulations, liable on summary conviction in the case of a first conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction of or a similar offence to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and, in either case, in default of payment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months.

             (2)  For the purpose of subsection (1), a conviction is not considered to be a second or subsequent conviction unless it is in respect of an offence committed within 12 months after a prior offence, and all convictions that are not second or subsequent convictions are considered first convictions.

             (3)  Every continuance for a day or part of a day of the contravention referred to in subsection (1) constitutes a separate offence.

1995 cM-20.1 s14

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Consent to prosecution

      15. A prosecution under this Act or the regulations shall not be taken except with the written consent of the minister.

1995 cM-20.1 s15