A better future - together

Local governance reform for a vibrant, sustainable New Brunswick


Our path forward

This reform is about communities and the future of our province. Few people dispute the need for reform – although some may disagree with some of the decisions we’ve made. That’s to be expected. Embarking upon change doesn’t come without trepidation and concern. That’s inevitable when you’re looking at modernizing something that has existed for decades.

 

Read the white paper (PDF)

In November 2021, the government of New Brunswick published their plan for local governance reform in a white paper entitled "Working together for vibrant and sustainable communities".


Pillar 1 – Local Governance structure

The local governance structure will be improved and strengthened through changes and actions that include:

 

Action

Status

Restructure local governance entities (move from 104 to 77 local governments)

Changes take effect Jan. 1, 2023

Strengthen local representation by creating rural districts (move from 236 local service districts to 12 rural districts)

Changes take effect Jan. 1, 2023

Define the responsibility for roads

Completed

Determine name and type of new local governments and rural districts

Completed

Enhance asset management planning

Underway

Establish an independent municipal commission

2024

Require annual reports on viability

2024

 

P1E

Pillar 2 – Regional collaboration

Regional collaboration will be improved. Regional service commissions will be strengthened and will have a mandate to deliver additional services. Changes and actions include:

Expand the role and mandate of the regional service commissions

Changes take effect Jan. 1, 2023

Strengthen regional service commission governance

Completed

Realign regional service commission boundaries

Completed

Enhance leadership capacity by expanding executive teams

Underway

Develop regional strategies

2023

Establish standards and performance measures

2024

 

pillar2

Pillar 3 – Land use planning

Progress has been made in recent years to promote well planned and sustainable development, but many challenges remain. Some communities do not have a land use plan in place, which can lead to conflicts. The location of natural resource development activities such as quarries continues to cause concern. Existing and potential agricultural lands continue to be transformed into residential and commercial developments. Sprawl continues the boundaries of service centres, and the delivery of planning and development services varies widely across the province and within regions.

The provincial government is undertaking several changes to improve land use planning and promote more responsible and managed development, including:

 

Develop statements of public interest

Underway

Enact a regulation outlining the required content and process to adopt a voluntary regional land use plan

Underway

Introduce minimum standards for land use planning

Completed

Introduce a new land use planning tool to help with affordable housing needs

Underway

Establish a process regarding the location of new provincial infrastructure

Completed

 

P3E

Pillar 4 – Financing local governance

Any reform to local governance must include a review of how the system will be financed. The following changes have been brought forward in the context of the existing local governance system, recognizing that not all challenges with the current property tax structure have been addressed. Additional taxation reform would be best re-examined once the restructuring and regional collaboration efforts are underway.

 

Different tax rates for areas with different servicesCompleted

Completed

Phasing in of impacts

Underway

Local rate flexibility on non-residential (business) property

Completed

Review and adjust the formula for community funding and equalization grants

Underway

Share revenues from fines

2023

Encourage business improvement areas

2023-24

Improve municipal election financing rules

2023-24

Look at ways to finance the new local governance structure

2023 and beyond

Create a new Heavy Industrial Property classification

Completed

 

P4E