Municipal Government

Municipalities exist to make important decisions about the local services, programs, facilities and infrastructure that citizens rely on every day. 

As a government, citizens also expect municipalities to establish local laws, make decisions about taxes and the community’s finances, plan for the future, and to protect the municipality’s resources. Municipalities must provide certain services and may choose to deliver many additional services to their citizens. 

Manitoba’s laws affect what services municipalities must provide, and may also affect how services can be delivered. Municipalities have broad, flexible powers to help them achieve their goals. Government powers directly impact people and property. 

Municipalities may tax properties, sell properties that do not pay their taxes, and expropriate private property for public use. Municipalities may also create and enforce many of their own laws, such as laws for animal control, noise or unsightly property. Corporate powers allow municipalities to buy land, infrastructure or equipment, hire employees, enter agreements, and determine how the organization is structured.

Required Municipal Services:

Road Maintenance: Municipal roads must be maintained to meet their expected use. 

Waste Management: Municipalities must provide services for residents to dispose of garbage and waste (e.g., landfill, recycling centre). 

Fire Services: Fire protection must be provided – at a minimum, education programs and inspections for certain types of buildings. Most municipalities also arrange for fire fighter protection. 

Police Services: Municipalities must have police services. In many municipalities policing is already provided by the Province of Manitoba and RCMP. 

Land Use Planning: Municipalities must create and enforce laws about how land can be used, such as zoning, development plans or building by-laws. 

Building Inspections: Building codes, standards and inspections are a municipal responsibility. 

Emergency Management: Municipalities have to be prepared for emergencies by putting plans and programs in place and having people ready if something happens. 

Weed Control: Municipalities must control weeds within their boundaries  

Other Services (Municipalities may also choose to provide additional municipal services):

Water and Sewer Services: Many municipalities provide drinking water and sewage disposal services to their citizens. 

Recreation: Parks, museums, swimming pools, hockey arenas, community halls, libraries, greenspaces, children’s programs, and much more. 

Economic Development: Programs to attract or keep businesses are another common municipal service, and often neighbouring municipalities work together to keep their region strong. 

Animal Control: Municipalities can make laws and programs to deal with pets, livestock or other animals. 

Cemeteries: Public cemeteries are often run and maintained by municipalities. 

Transit: Many municipalities offer some type of transportation service, such as a Handi-van or public transit. 

Insect Management: Bug control is another service that some municipalities offer.