Often the LGA is also required to deal with matters that go beyond their traditional job duties or may be outside their comfort zone. Examples include dealing with media, running an election, writing a funding proposal etc. This section provides information on some of the more unusual activities that the LGA may become involved in.
Strong communication skills are essential for any LGA. The LGA often represents the municipal government in dealing with the public, businesses, government officials, other municipalities and other organizations. The LGA needs to develop good verbal and written communications skills as they may be asked to speak during meetings, make presentations, draft written materials and correspondence and discuss matters over the telephone.
Regular LGA duties that require good written communications skills include:
Regular LGA duties that require good verbal communications skills include:
Community governments are often required to submit proposals to government, not-for-profit organizations and foundations seeking funding for a particular program or project. The job of writing the proposal usually falls to the LGA.
The first thing to recognize is that fund-raising is competitive. Most often, the funding agency receives more proposals than it has money for. This means the best proposals get approved for funding and the others get partial or no funding.
Another key issue involves suitability. Most funding opportunities, particularly in government, are quite specific about the type of project that is eligible and the type of expenditures that are eligible. Before writing a proposal, it is helpful to gather all available information about what the funding organization or program will fund and what types of projects it is most interested in funding. This information can then be used to evaluate whether the community’s specific project is eligible or likely to get funded. If the LGA has questions, try to speak directly with the program officer or someone from the organization to discuss your community’s project.
In writing the proposal, there may be specific information that the funder wants to see or a specific format that is to be followed. These types of requirements are usually spelled out in written instructions that the funding agency can provide. Common elements found in most funding proposals include:
Each municipal government is established under specific legislation. Details on the number of elected officials, the terms of office, election dates, etc. that applies to a specific community can be found by referring to the appropriate municipal legislation. Information on the election calendar for most communities can be obtained from the MACA web site.
Municipal government elections are governed by the Local Authorities Elections Act. This legislation sets out the eligibility criteria for voters and candidates, establishes the election calendar, sets out the election process and addresses other related matters such as recounts, judicial reviews, election offenses etc.
Municipalities established under the Charter Communities Act have their own election dates, eligibility criteria for members of Council and length of term as set out in their charter. The election calendars for charter communities may be obtained from the Chief Municipal Electoral Officer.
The Returning Officer plays an important role in the running of elections. The Returning Officer’s goal is to run a fair election. This person guards against any corruption or breaking of the rules. Key duties include:
Resources available on the MACA website to assist the Returning Officer include:
The Returning Officer and the Registrar are appointed by Council. If Council doesn’t appoint a Returning Officer or Registrar, the LGA is required to perform the duties of the Returning Officer and Registrar.
If the LGA is required to act as the Returning Officer, this should be determined well in advance of any municipal election so you have time to review the relevant Acts and manuals and get prepared.
The Chief Municipal Electoral Officer, located within MACA, is available to help all Returning Officers with their duties. Detailed election information and resources can be found at MACA - Election Information.
On occasion, a municipal government may have concerns about a proposed resource development project. This section summarizes the environmental assessment process established by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.
The purpose of an environmental assessment is to consider the potential impacts of a project before decisions are made to proceed. This ensures that any negative effects arising from the project can be avoided or minimized.
Before a proposed development project, such as an oil well, mine or hydro-electric facility, can be built, the developer (or project proponent) must usually apply for licenses, permits and authorizations. In the application, the developer must demonstrate that the proposed project:
There are three stages that a project may have to go through to determine if negative impacts or public concern will exist:
Stage 1: Preliminary Screening Preliminary screening is a quick review of a proposed project. A land and water board or other regulating authority runs this type of review and usually seeks comments from interested or affected groups to help it reach a decision. If no significant potential impacts or public concerns are found, the project proceeds to the regulator to obtain permits and licenses. If it is determined that there may be significant potential impacts or public concerns as a result of the project, it is referred to the second stage of review.
Stage 2: Environmental Assessment The Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (MVEIRB) is responsible for conducting environmental assessments. Only about 5 per cent of all projects that go through preliminary screening are referred to environmental assessment. At this stage, a project goes through a much more thorough review, which can often last for months or even years. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, MVEIRB can decide to recommend (to the federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) that:
Stage 3: Environmental Impact Review Very few projects proceed to this stage. This type of review is very in-depth and is conducted by an independent panel appointed by MVEIRB. The purpose of an environmental impact review is to enable a more focused examination of the issues raised during the environmental assessment stage.
In the NWT, key economic activities include minerals, oil and gas extraction, tourism, traditional harvesting (trapping, fishing and hunting), agriculture and arts and crafts. Additional information on relevant programs and services can be obtained from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment web site. At the community level, many municipal governments employ a Community Economic Development Officer to help promote and facilitate business development and increase local employment.
Under the supervision of the LGA, key duties of a Community Economic Development Officer typically include: