The new structure will see New Brunswick move from 340 entities to 89 entities on January 1, 2023. We will form 77 local governments and 12 rural districts.

Local Governments

The vision of local governance reform in New Brunswick is to work together for vibrant and sustainable communities. As of January 1st, 2023, approximately 95% of New Brunswick’s population will reside in a local government.

A local government, also known as a municipality, city, town or village, is a level of government that provides services such as recreation, street construction and maintenance (ploughing, filling potholes), fire protection, animal control, and policing, to its residents.  

As a result of reform, there are newly restructured local governments where an election or by-election is required to fill council seats. There will be 58 local government elections or by-elections that take place on November 28, 2022.   

Rural Districts

A rural district is a new structure for New Brunswick that brings together former local service districts (LSD)—or parts of them—that are outside local government boundaries. Rural districts are unincorporated areas that are sparsely populated. As of January 1st, 2023, there will be one rural district in each of New Brunswick’s 12 regions:

Northwest rural district

Restigouche rural district

Chaleur rural district 

Acadian Peninsula rural district

Greater Miramichi rural district 

Kent rural district

Southeast rural district 

Kings rural district 

Fundy rural district 

Southwest rural district 

Capital Region rural district  

Western Valley rural district

Rural districts have been established to ensure that residents outside local governments continue to receive important services, such as emergency services, animal control, management of dangerous and unsightly premises, and solid waste management. These services will be coordinated by the provincial government through a rural district manager. 

Rural districts will help meet another very important need: elected representation at the local level for all New Brunswickers. A special election will take place on November 28, 2022. Rural districts will each elect three to six councillors to form an advisory committee to advise the Minister of Local Government on rural district matters. The number of councillors depends on the population—approximately one councillor for every 1,500 people. Residents will elect councillors to represent wards, or members at-large, or both.

Regional Service Commissions (RSCs)

Regional Service Commissions (RSCs) were established in 2012 to replace 12 solid waste commissions and 12 land use planning commissions. The work of the RSCs to has shown that residents benefit from a greater level of regional collaboration. Local governance reform recognizes that the best approach to achieving progress across the province is to give RSCs a broader mandate – one that requires elected officials and leaders to develop a regional vision and a consistent approach to addressing opportunities and challenges.  

RSCs have the potential to achieve economies of scale, offer more services at lower costs, and access specialized expertise which would not otherwise be affordable or accessible to many communities.

Under local governance reform the RSCs will now provide regional leadership in the following areas:

Economic development: Bring together business stakeholders and community leaders to provide focus for regional growth. 

Tourism promotion: Ensure coordinated regional tourism promotion.

Community development: Play an important role in ensuring a coherent regional vision and plan in areas such as affordable housing, newcomer settlement services and diversity promotion, social inclusion and health communities.

Regional transportation (community transit): Bring stakeholders and local governments together in collaboration with the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation to develop and implement strategies and services to better serve residents.

Regional infrastructure cost-sharing: Establish guidelines that will provide direction to regional service commissions on cost-sharing opportunities for sport, recreation and cultural infrastructure. Identified infrastructure costs will be shared based on a tax base and population formula. 

Additional social focus: RSCs of South-East, Fundy and Capital Region will provide a regional approach to address challenges posed by a growing vulnerable population in larger urban centres, starting in 2024.