Where your Authority Comes From
First and foremost, members of Council are elected by residents of their communities. A Community Government is in place to provide good government to the residents, to develop and maintain safe municipalities, and to provide services, products and facilities. However, your actions are guided by several sets of legislation enacted by the Government of the Northwest Territories.
Each type of Community Government in the NWT is established under specific legislation:
- Cities, Towns & Villages Act;
- Hamlets Act;
- Tłı̨chǫ Community Government Act;
- Charter Communities Act; and
- Indian Act (Federal).
The Acts and their associated regulations spell out a Community Government’s authority. For example, they specify how many people sit on the council, the length of their terms, the frequency of elections, and how a Council may, by bylaw, vary these.
Take the time to read the statute that governs your community and make sure you understand what you can and cannot do as a Community Government.
In 2007-2008, Community Governments began to receive additional responsibilities, a major change in how NWT communities do business. This “New Deal” offers the potential for all NWT communities to assume full authority over community public infrastructure.
To make this happen, Community Governments receive stable, long-term, predictable funding for infrastructure development, as well as support for developing capital investment plans, and training through MACA's School of Community Government.
It’s important to be up to date on legislative changes, such as the possibility of including access to information and protection of privacy laws to include Community Governments.
In addition to various Acts already mentioned that define Community Government authority, there are a number of GNWT statutes that affect Community Governments. Here are some of the additional statutes that your Council will need to consider:
- All-Terrain Vehicles Act
- Civil Emergency Measures Act
- Curfew Act
- Dog Act
- Employee Standards Act
- Environmental Protection Act
- Fire Prevention Act
- Interpretation Act
- Liquor Act
- Local Authorities Elections Act
- Lotteries Act
- Motor Vehicles Act
- Planning Act
- Property Assessment and Taxation Act
- Public Health Act
- Senior Citizens & Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief Act
- Summary Convictions Act
Electronic copies of all GNWT statutes and regulations are available on the Department of Justice website www.justice.gov.nt.ca. You can also contact the NWTAC or MACA for assistance in locating a particular Act.