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Improvement District Services


Improvement districts are incorporated in order to provide one or more services to its landowners. The services that they can provide are listed in their Letters Patent - the document that incorporates each improvement district. The majority of improvement districts (80%) provide water as their service. Other services that are typically provided include fire protection, street lighting, garbage collection and dyking.

With the exception of fire protection, improvement district services can only be provided within the boundary of an improvement district. Therefore, if the owner of a property located outside the boundary wants to receive the services being provided by an improvement district, the boundary of the improvement district must be re-described to include the property. The boundary extension is contingent on the agreement of the board of trustees that there is an ability to supply its services to the property and the owner agrees to pay all costs in relation to the service.

The Local Government Act gives improvement districts the authority to set rules in relation to the services that they provide – whether it is setting the price of the service or regulating in relation to the service. The price of the service is collected in the form of taxes, tolls (user charges) and other charges which are enacted by bylaws passed by the board of trustees.

The regulatory authority, in relation to a service, allows a board of trustees to restrict what people may do, prohibit some activities, or require certain actions. For example, a board of trustees may want to impose sprinkling restrictions during times when water levels are low. They may also prohibit people from connecting their water line to a neighbour’s house. Regulations must also be enacted by bylaw.

When providing services, improvement districts themselves may be subject to provincial rules such as the Drinking Water Protection Act.

The Local Government Department has developed the Improvement District Manual (235 KB) as a resource for improvement districts which provides additional information about the topics on this page.


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