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Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs
April 8, 2014

Strengthening Local Governance

Legislative Changes Will Encourage Greater Involvement in Local Government

Amendments to the Municipalities Act, 1999, the City of Corner Brook Act, the City of Mount Pearl Act and the City of St. John’s Act introduced today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Steve Kent, Minister of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs, will permit remote council meeting attendance, and will enable youth representation in municipal governments.

“With these amendments, we are building on our Make Your Mark campaign to encourage greater participation in local governance by residents and particularly youth. My department works closely with councils, municipal leaders, and key stakeholders to ensure that our legislation is meeting the needs of our municipalities, and through these changes we will strengthen the tools available to our councils.”
- The Honourable Steve Kent, Minister of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs

The first amendment will allow councils the discretionary authority to permit their councillors to attend meetings remotely. This will enable flexibility for councillors who are balancing council participation with family commitments, or who work from non-traditional locations or on an irregular schedule.

The second amendment will allow councils the discretionary authority to appoint one or more youth representatives to council. These individuals, while not voting members, will bring the voice of youth to the council chambers and will add a new and important perspective to deliberations. It will also give these youth the opportunity to better understand the role of their municipal council and allow the elected councillors to mentor them as potential future community leaders.

“Bringing our presence and opinions to council represents a great opportunity for the youth of this province, but also this comes with a huge responsibility.  By having youth representatives on council, we will be able to share our perspectives and also gain valuable mentoring opportunities from councillors. Through this opportunity we will learn from each other, and build respect to make this a real opportunity for councils and youth.”
- Lisa Buckland, Executive Director, Community Youth Network, Corner Brook and Bay of Islands

Following the introduction of these amendments, training programs will be adjusted to reflect the new capacities for remote attendance and youth representatives. Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs will also prepare documentation which will be sent to each community, outlining how these initiatives can be implemented.


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Media contacts:

Hugh Donnan
Director of Communications
Department of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs
709-729-1983, 725-6511
Lisa Buckland
Executive Director
Community Youth Network, Corner Brook and Bay of Islands

2014 04 08                                        4:55 p.m.

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