As part of the white paper entitled Working together for vibrant and sustainable communities, the Government of New Brunswick committed to establish an independent commission to address administrative matters affecting local and regional governance entities. A legislative framework was subsequently created and the Local Governance Commission Act received Royal Assent in the Legislative Assembly in June 2023. The Act will be proclaimed once the supporting regulatory framework has been finalized.
The Local Governance Commission will be an expert body and is being created to review, assess, and make recommendations or rule on matters affecting the governance and administration of local governance structures. Their mandate includes conducting investigations into financial and code of conduct matters, as well as taking action on matters of conflict of interest for local government councils and regional service commission board members, reviews of decisions by regional service commissions rejecting cost-sharing of regional infrastructure to ensure due process was followed and reviewing and supporting the development of proposals on local government restructurings and amendments to regions.
It is expected that the Local Governance Commission will be operational in 2024.
Under the former structure, there was no dedicated body for investigations and dispute resolution in local governments. The Commission will be able to provide these services as an independent arms-length body.
The Commission will be responsible for administrative, investigative, educational, and advisory functions, such as:
The Commission will be led by a Chair, known as the Commissioner of Local Governance Affairs, appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, who provides expertise in local governance matters.
The Commission must also have a minimum of four members (one of whom will act as the vice-chair), in addition to the Chair. To ensure the Commission has the skills, qualifications, training, and experience to carry out their functions, the following skills and expertise are outlined for Commission members:
These members will be appointed through the Agencies, Boards and Commissions process of the Government of New Brunswick. Vacancies will be posted online, applicants submit an expression of interest, applications are reviewed upon closing, and selection will be based on merit (required skills and competencies based on the skills and qualifications regulation) and board composition (equal opportunity and workplace equity).
Under the Local Governance Commission Act, the Assessment and Planning Appeal Board will be continued as the Assessment and Planning Appeal Tribunal, with all its powers, duties and functions. It will be independent from the Commission in its adjudicative functions.
A regulation is being developed outlining the necessary skills and qualifications needed by appointed members. Other regulations are also being drafted to address various procedural and operational issues.