Municipalities across N.S. benefit from charter modernization

Municipal Affairs Minister Brendan Maguire. (Communications N.S. Photo)

HALIFAX/SYDNEY: The province is is amending the Municipal Government Act and the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter to modernize local government operations.

The change announced April 8, will allow municipalities and villages to hold virtual council meetings. The amendment also increases accessibility for citizens to publicly participate and view council meetings.

“Due to the pandemic, we recognized that virtual council meetings should be an option for municipalities and villages,” said Brendan Maguire, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “We’ve listened to municipalities. Those interested in continuing this practice will be able to meet virtually after the state of emergency has been lifted.”



Municipalities and villages have been allowed to meet virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic under the provincial state of emergency. The amendment supports councils holding virtual meetings once the state of emergency is removed.

Quotes:
“What we’ve learned from the pandemic is that our members need the ability to meet virtually to best serve their communities. Since the beginning of COVID-19 our members have done exceptionally well at adapting to our new environment. Municipalities would benefit greatly from more accommodating language about virtual and in-person meetings.”
     – Amanda McDougall, acting president, Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities



Quick Facts:
— the Municipal Government Act and Halifax Regional Municipality Charter currently do not allow virtual council meetings
— virtual meetings provide an alternative to in-person meetings and can be conducted in an orderly and transparent manner

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

Municipal Government Act: https://www.nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/statutes/municipal%20government.pdf

Halifax Regional Municipality Charter: https://www.nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/statutes/halifax%20regional%20municipality%20charter.pdf

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