Local Government Approval of the Electors

Approval of the electors is required before a decision can be finalized about certain municipal or regional district matters specified in legislation. Where approval of the electors is required, it may be obtained by the local government either through assent voting or by first “testing the waters” through the alternative approval process.

Approval of the electors is often required in conjunction with provincial approval, including approval of the Inspector of Municipalities or ministerial approval. If this is the case, provincial approval must come before approval of the electors.

Approval of the electors is required when a local government decision may have a significant impact on the community over the longer term. These are some examples:

  • Long-term borrowing (loan authorization) for municipalities
  • Disposal of certain utilities other than a water or sewage system
  • Exchange or other disposal of parkland
  • Liabilities under some types of agreement
  • Municipal boundary extensions
  • Municipal classification changes
  • Removing the reservation or dedication from property

Form of Approval of the Electors

Where approval of the electors is required, it may be obtained by the local government either directly through assent voting (referendum) or by first “testing the waters” through the alternative approval process.

Assent Voting

Assent voting (referendum) allows electors to vote on whether a proposal should move forward or not. Assent of the electors is obtained if a majority of the votes counted are in favour of the bylaw or question. Assent voting is conducted under the rules that generally apply to local elections.

Alternative Approval Process

The alternative approval process allows electors to indicate whether they are against a local government proposal moving forward. If 10 percent or more of the eligible electors in the area to which the process relates submit elector response forms, the local government may not proceed with the action or proposal unless it obtains assent of the electors.