EAST HANTS/HRM: Government is amending the Municipal Government Act and the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter to provide more transparency and increased accountability for Nova Scotians by their local government.

The changes announced today, March 24, will require municipalities to have a code of conduct for municipal councils.

These proposed legislative amendments will require municipalities and village commissions to include requirements outlined by the province in their code of conduct and appoint an independent body to receive and investigate alleged breaches.

“Nova Scotians have high expectations of the people they elect. They expect them to be accountable and transparent with public dollars and conduct themselves in ways that maintain public trust,” said Brendan Maguire, Minister of Municipal Affairs.

“Thank you to all the municipalities for being part of this process and contributing ideas that will ensure consistency across municipalities.”

The amendments will also enable councils or commissions to sanction members found to have breached the code of conduct, allow in-camera discussions about breaches and give additional regulation authority to the minister of Municipal Affairs.

“Changes regarding the code of conduct are very important to our members. We’ve heard loud and clear from our members that they want legislation with more teeth. The Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities supports legislative changes that provide clear measures for municipal councils to support elected officials in ethical and effective governing.”
     – Emily Lutz, president, Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities

Quick Facts:
— a code of conduct for municipal elected officials was a key recommendation of the Joint Municipal/Provincial Accountability and Transparency Committee
— the committee was established in December 2016 to address issues related to the management of municipal staff and elected officials’ expenses
— most municipalities have adopted a code of conduct, some based on the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities model

Additional Resources:
Department of Municipal Affairs website: https://beta.novascotia.ca/government/municipal-affairs

Department of Municipal Affairs Twitter: https://twitter.com/dma_ns

Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities website: https://www.nsfm.ca/index.php