The 2009 SARM Midterm Convention will be held on November 9 and 10 at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina. The convention agenda will deal with many topics of interest, including H1N1. As well, delegates will hear from three of our provincial ministers--Agriculture, Municipal Affairs and Highways and Infrastructure. Visit the SARM website and follow the link http://www.sarm.ca/events/2009_SARM_Midterm_Convention for the complete agenda and a list of the 2009 Midterm resolutions to be heard.
2010 SARM Desktop, Pocket & Wall Calendars
Each municipality will receive for free, one 2010 SARM desktop calendar, one wall calendar and pocket calendars for each member of council. These calendars can be picked up at the Midterm Convention anytime after lunch on Monday and all day Thursday.
If your RM would like additional copies of the desktop calendar, they are available at a cost of $7 each, plus taxes and shipping (if applicable). If you wish to order additional calendars, please e-mail Kristina Buitenhuis at email@example.com. You can also purchase and pickup additional calendars at the Midterm Convention.
Insurance Programs – 2010 Premium Rates
At the October Board meeting, resolutions were passed setting the 2010 premium rates for the SARM Property Self-Insurance Program, the SARM Liability Self-Insurance Plan and the SARM Fidelity Bond Self-Insurance Plan. We are pleased to advise that the rates for all three programs will remain the same as in 2009. As usual, invoices and renewal information for these programs will be sent out at the end of November.
The SARM Board adopted the 2010 Budget at their October meeting. The budget will mean a significant increase in membership fees for all municipalities. As President Marit mentioned in his address to the 2009 Annual Convention, SARM has outgrown their existing facility and needs to begin building up a reserve fund to replace our present building. The budget provides for an increase in the base membership fee of $500 for each RM to build up the reserve fund. As well, at the same convention, a resolution was passed that the cost of the federal lobbyist should be paid for out of the membership fees rather than by a special voluntary levy. This change has been incorporated into the 2010 Budget so the cost of the lobbyist (estimated at $88,800 for 2010) will now be shared by all RMs. These are the only increases to our membership fees for 2010.
Municipal Leaders Roles and Responsibilities Workshop
A Module of the “Municipal Leadership Development Program”
This seminar provides essential, current information to assist you in council procedures as well as your role as policy decision makers, employers and community leaders. The workshop is designed for new councillors; however the agenda reflects current issues in rural Saskatchewan and is of interest to all. Each seminar will include a mock “council meeting”, performed by various municipal leaders and Municipal Affairs staff, and addresses by SARM staff and board members.
There is no fee for this seminar and there is no pre-registration required, the 2009 workshops will be held on November 18 in Regina at the Regina Inn Hotel & Conference Centre and on November 19 at TCU Place (downtown) in Saskatoon. For more information contact Teresa Edwards at (306)761-3725 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MLDP Workshop Schedule – Fall 2009
Financial Planning and Strategic Planning for Municipalities
Shaunavon, SK Tuesday, Nov 24
* Manitou Beach, SK Friday, Nov 27
* IMPORTANT NOTE: The location for this module was previously advertised as Watrous. The correct location for this module is Manitou Beach.
Municipal Economic Development Fundamentals
Craik, SK Thursday, Nov 26
Kinistino, SK Tuesday, Dec 1
Human Resources in the Municipal Workplace
Jansen, SK Saturday, Nov 28
Marsden, SK Wednesday, Dec 2
Public Relations and Communications for Municipalities
Radville, SK Wednesday, Nov 25
Shellbrook, SK Thursday, Dec 3
Community and Land Use Planning
Martensville, SK Thursday, Nov 26
Kipling, SK Tuesday, Dec 1
Visit the MLDP website www.mldp.ca for more information or for a registration form.
Meeting with Michael Ignatieff
The SARM Executive met with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on October 15th in Regina. Also participating in the meeting were the SUMA Executive and the Mayors of Regina and Weyburn. Discussion centered on how the Liberal party would deal with the various issues facing rural Saskatchewan.
SARM President David Marit appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance October 19th to formally present SARM’s budget submission to the federal government. The presentation went very well and President Marit fielded a number of questions from interested Committee members about SARM’s submission. Once again, SARM asked for the introduction of a federal rural roads program similar to the Prairie Grain Roads Program which was discontinued in 2006. SARM also asked that the federal government help address the issues facing Saskatchewan’s cattle industry. If you have a membership login ID you can view the complete budget submission and the presentation SARM gave before the Standing Committee at: http://www.sarm.ca/policy/policy_document_archives
SARM President David Marit was among the invitees who attended the provincial government’s throne speech in October. The speech laid out the government’s priorities for this 26th sitting of the legislature and beyond. SARM was pleased that the province is committed to debt reduction and improving health care. President Marit was also happy to hear that the province remains committed to the Farm Ranch Water Infrastructure Program which will provide $53 million dollars over the next four years to develop water infrastructure across Saskatchewan.
The SARM board met with members of the Canadian Classic Wild Board Cooperative (CCWBC) at the regular board meeting in October. CCWBC representatives expressed concern about the future of the wild boar industry in Saskatchewan and members of both SARM and the CCWBC discussed different ways in which the problem of escaped wild boar might be better addressed in the future. SARM passed a resolution at the March 2009 convention asking for a moratorium on wild boar farms in Saskatchewan. A resolution further asking the province to discontinue wild boar farms and calling for the eradication of escaped wild boar will be presented at SARM’s convention November 9th and 10th. SARM also discussed this issue in a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture in September.
SARM has been busy discussing solutions to the rat problem in Saskatchewan. The SARM board has met with the Provincial Council of Agriculture Development and Diversification Boards (PCAB) as well as representatives from the Saskatchewan Pest Control Officers Association. Most recently, Division Two Director Ray Orb attend the Quarterly Meeting of PCAB to discuss the issue. SARM is interested in finding ways to solve the problem of rat control in Saskatchewan and to that end SARM is asking that the province’s currently inactive rat control committee be recalled to address the issue.
New Emergency Radios
The SARM board also met with the Honourable D.F. (Yogi) Huyghebaert, Minister of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing to discuss the costs associated with replacing the Fleetnet Radio Systems. SARM has been pressing the province for more financial assistance for municipalities to easier enable them to accommodate the changeover. The Minister heard and understood our concerns and will take them under consideration. The changeover of the radio system is scheduled to begin in April of 2010 and is to be complete by December 2010.
Exemption for RM Residents Who Do Snow Removal for RM
Some time ago we received an inquiry from an RM as to whether or not the RM ratepayers, who are given permission by Council to do snow removal on municipal roads, must be "competent operators" within the meaning of section 154 of The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996, R.R.S. c.O 1.1 Reg 1 ("the Regulations").
As you will know, subsection 154 (2) of the Regulations provides, in part, that "an employer or contractor shall ensure that only competent operators are required or permitted to operate powered mobile equipment".
A "competent operator" is, according to subsection 154 (1) of the Regulations, a worker who has successfully completed an approved training program or who is completing the training under the direct supervision of a competent operator.
The equipment used in snow removal would, of course, be considered "powered mobile equipment".
It is a common practice for RMs to give ratepayers permission to do snow removal. In some cases the RM pays the ratepayers for doing this, in others not.
Clearly the RM is not the "employer" of such persons. The question, however, is whether the RM is a "contractor" relative to such persons, such that the RM would then be obliged to ensure that they are "competent operators".
We then discussed this with Occupational Health and Safety. It was their opinion, with which we agreed, that the Regulations would not apply if the RM did not pay the ratepayer but that they would apply if the RM did pay the ratepayer.
Recognizing that it would likely create problems if RMs had to ensure that every ratepayer who was to be given permission to do snow removal on municipal roads, and who was to be paid therefore, had to go through the training required to become a "competent operator" within the meaning of section 154 of the Regulations, SARM asked Occupational Health and Safety to look at the granting of an exemption in this situation.
The authority to grant exemptions is set out in section 46 of The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993, S.S. 1993, c. O- 1.1 ("the Act"). Subsection 46(1) of the Act reads as follows: "In order to meet the special circumstances in a particular case, the director may, on receipt of a written application and after any consultation with interested persons that the director considers advisable, exempt conditionally or otherwise any person or class of persons from any provision of the regulations or a code of practice". Subsection 46(2) of the Act provides that such an exemption "shall be made only where the director is satisfied that the standard of health and safety of any worker is not materially affected by the exemption".
We are pleased to report that Occupational Health and Safety has now granted the exemption. A copy of the Exemption has been posted on the SARM website. Note that one of the conditions imposed is that it will only apply with respect to residents who have signed an agreement with the RM. A form of agreement has been included at the end of the Exemption.
Committee Formed to Further Investigate CTP Committee Recommendation
One of the transportation issues that were identified by the Clearing the Path Committee in their final report was “convenient access for acquiring permits”. The following were their recommendations to address the issue:
When hauling through a number of municipalities, haulers have to deal with more than one jurisdiction to obtain overweight permits, road maintenance agreements etc. If a hauler could access permits and road maintenance agreements from one office for the entire province it would be very convenient and would reduce administrative costs for business. This issue has been on the “back burner” as resources have been directed to developing the primary weight corridor, which was also a recommendation of the Clearing the Path Committee. At the last board meeting a committee consisting of Directors Porter, Steele and McCallum was formed to further investigate this issue.
Emergency Medical Responders
Concerns have been raised by many municipalities regarding recent changes to training requirements for Emergency Medical Responders by the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics. The board shares these concerns and the pressure that the new regulations put on rural ambulance services. On October 25th the SARM Board met with the President and Executive Director of the College to discuss the issue. A resolution regarding the issue will be debated at the upcoming Midterm convention.
New ADM Appointed
Dr. Kirby Wright was recently appointed as the new Assistant Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs. He is to commence his employment with Municipal Affairs on January 1, 2010. Originally from Whitewood, Kirby holds several degrees, including an MBA and a Ph.D. For several years, Kirby was Director of Business Programs in the Extension Faculty at the University of Alberta, and then went on to be the MBA Program Coordinator at the U of A. While Kirby retains the title of Adjunct Professor at the U of A, for the last several years his professional efforts have been on focused on consulting. This includes several significant consulting projects focused at the Municipal Sector in Alberta, including that Government’s Rural Community Capacity Building Framework.
Congratulations to Lorne Scott
Congratulations go out to Lorne Scott, Reeve of the RM of Indian Head No. 156, on being chosen to receive the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. Lorne has a long history of dedication to conservation issues at the local, provincial and national levels. Official ceremonies are scheduled for November.
2010 Lieutenant Governor’s Award
The nomination package for the 2010 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service to Rural Saskatchewan will be sent to all RM offices in November. Please place the poster somewhere visible in your office.
For the 2010 award year, all reeves, councillors and administrators are eligible for nomination by RMs in recognition of lifetime achievements. We invite all RMs to submit nominations for active or retired reeves, councillors or administrators, who have not been previously recognized, and have made a contribution to Rural Saskatchewan. The deadline for nominations is January 29, 2010. The award will be presented at the 2010 Annual Convention by His Honour the Honourable Dr. Gordon L. Barnhart, and is once again sponsored by SaskPower.
Quote of the Month
"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882, Essayist, Philosopher and Poet