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Questions and Answers about the Municipal Act, 2001

The Ministry is providing these Frequently Asked Questions to assist public libraries in understanding the amendments contained in the Municipal Act, 2001. These questions and answers are general discussions and you should not rely upon them as legal advice. They are not intended as a substitute for legal advice. For further questions relating to these questions or your particular circumstances, you must consult with your own legal advisors.

Municipal Act, 2001, - General

Why are public libraries affected by the Municipal Act, 2001?
Public libraries are affected by the Municipal Act, 2001, because they are municipally established local boards. As such, they are included in the Act's definition of local boards for the purposes of that Act.

Public Library Board Governance and Municipal Services Boards

The Municipal Act, 2001, s. 195 provides for the establishment of municipal services boards. Can these boards replace public library boards?

No. Municipal Act, 2001, clause 195 (2) (b) provides that a municipality may give control and management of municipal services to a municipal services board by delegating to the board all or part of the municipality's powers under any Act related to the municipal services. The PLA allows municipalities to establish public library boards. Once established, the library board and not the municipality, operates the library. Therefore, it is possible for a municipality to delegate to a municipal services board its authority to establish a library board, but it cannot give a municipal services board the authority to operate a library.

Contracting for Library Service

Can a municipality that has already established a library board, enter into a contract for library services with a neighbouring library board under the Municipal Act, 2001, s.19 (1) (2) and receive provincial operating funding under the Public Libraries Act?

No. Although the Municipal Act, 2001, may permit a municipality that has already established a library board to enter into a library services agreement with a neighbouring library board, such an arrangement would not be consistent with the provisions of the PLA.

PLA s. 29(1) enables organizations such as the council of a municipality, a local service board, the council of a First Nation band to, instead of establishing or maintaining a public library, enter into a contract with a library board (see PLA for exact wording). PLA s. 30 provides for funding of municipalities that have entered into a contract with a neighbouring library board under PLA s. 29.

Under the PLA, a municipality cannot enter into an agreement with a neighbouring library board for library services when it has already established a library board. Once library boards have been established, any agreements regarding library service must be between boards, and there is provision for such board-to-board cooperation under PLA clause 20 (a).

Financial Reporting Requirements - Audited Financial Statements

Does the Municipal Act, 2001, S 296 (11) on consolidated municipal statements mean that the PLA no longer requires a separate audited statement for the public library board?

The Municipal Act, 2001, states: Municipal Act, 2001,S. 296
(11) Where the financial statements of a municipality and a local board are consolidated, the municipality may require the local board to be audited as if it were part of the municipality, in which case, the auditor of the municipality is not required to provide a separate opinion with respect to the statements of the local board. 2001, c. 25, s. 296 (11).

Both public library boards and First Nation Bands, Local Services Boards and municipalities that contract for library service receive library funding under PLA s. 30. It is a condition of PLA Regulation 976 1(b) that recipients of library funding under PLA s. 30 supply the financial statements and information to the Minister. It is acceptable for a library board to supply its financial information in a consolidated audited financial statement as noted in Municipal Act, 2001, s. 296 (11), provided that the financial information on the library board is provided in a separate schedule or appendix of the consolidated municipal financial statement or is otherwise clearly segregated or identified in the consolidated audited financial statement.