We've recently concluded negotiations on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the province. This MOU clarifies the roles and responsibilities of each level of government and revisits crucial topics of mutual interest within the Service Exchange Renegotiation and Municipal Government Act Review Committee (SERMGAR).
Here is a recap of the Service Exchange progress:
- NSFM engaged in the first negotiation of the current provincial/municipal Service Exchange agreement since 1995.
- In January 2022, an Advisory Committee, made up of elected officials, CAOs, and senior provincial staff, was formed.
- Municipalities were surveyed for their input on the most pressing municipal issues, and we received a significant participation rate of 80%.
- Meetings took place over the next 18 months and the committee ultimately put forward an ambitious proposal to the province.
- The 5 main areas of focus included the following: Eliminating mandatory municipal contributions for provincial services like housing and corrections, increasing the municipal financial capacity grant (formerly known as the ‘equalization grant’), new ownership and maintenance arrangements for roads, new municipal infrastructure funding, and returning ownership of surplus schools to the province.
- The province moved forward with many, but not all, of the committee’s recommendations. Ultimately, legislation was passed in the Fall 2023 sitting through the ‘Municipal Reform Act’ that encompassed much of the work done via the SERMGAR committee.
- NSFM supported both HRM and CBRM in requests for separate negotiations with the province.