The Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) hears matters under several
pieces of legislation. The legislation that applies to your situation
states who may appeal and how appeals are to be made. The notice
of decision from the local level usually tells you how to appeal.
Appeals to the SMB are generally from decisions of a lower board,
such as municipal boards of revision or development appeals boards.
Each of the following working committees specifically deals with
various types of appeals:
Assessment Appeals Committee
Planning Appeals Committee
Fire Prevention Appeals Committee
How formal is an appeal hearing?
Appeal hearings are less formal than a court proceeding
but are more formal than a council meeting.
As explained earlier in the discussion about the board's mandate,
hearings for the above mentioned committees are conducted under what is best described as a Hybrid Model,
leaning more to the Adversarial Model.
is presented by one party in an effort to prove error on behalf
of a local board, followed by argument of the other party that the
local board did not err. During the hearing or other proceeding,
committee members (hearing panel) will guide all parties through
the appropriate procedures.
How should I prepare for a hearing?
Thoroughly review the evidence, argument and information (the record)
of the lower board. Your role is to provide argument to show the
SMB hearing panel where there is error in the decision of the lower
board based upon the evidence that was before it. If you choose
not to hire a lawyer, or an agent the SMB will expect you to:
- Obtain or prepare any documents you may require to present your
- Make copies for all parties (except of public documents like
official plans); and
- Present relevant facts and arguments in a clear and logical
way in order to present your case to the SMB hearing panel.
Can I have someone else represent me at my hearing?
Yes. You can have legal counsel, a tax consultant or anyone
you feel can adequately present your case.
Is a hearing open to the public?
Yes. Generally, all hearings are open to the public except in some
cases where the committee decides that a matter should be heard
Do I have to hire a lawyer?
Many municipalities and appellants are represented by lawyers, but
there is no requirement that anyone be represented by a lawyer or
What happens at a hearing?
Hearings are conducted as follows:
- Identify the record of the local board;
- Address any issues of jurisdiction, which may prevent the committee
from hearing the appeal;
- Both parties may provide opening statements;
- Parties speak one at a time, addressing all comments and questions
through the chair;
- Appellant proceeds with his/her case first followed by the respondent;
- Where additional evidence has been allowed, both appellant and
respondent can cross-examine and re-examine (if needed);
- Where appropriate, both appellant and respondent can present
- Panel members may ask questions throughout the hearing.
Decisions are rendered, in writing, with reasons as soon as possible
following the hearing.
Do I have to present evidence at the hearing?
When the appeal is based on the decision of the lower board, the
committee is restricted to reviewing the record of the lower board
for error and cannot accept new evidence, except in certain, limited
circumstances. You must have previously presented a full case, including
all evidence upon which you relied to make your appeal, to the local
board. This evidence comes to the committee as part of the record
of the local board.
When is new evidence allowed?
When an appeal is against the decision of a lower board, the committee
may only allow new evidence, in very limited circumstances, where
it is satisfied that:
- The evidence is relevant;
- Through no fault of a person seeking to call the new evidence,
the written materials and transcript of the lower board are incomplete,
unclear, or do not exist;
- The lower board has omitted, neglected, or refused to make a
- The appellant has established that the relevant information
has come to his/her attention that was not obtainable or discoverable
through the exercise of due diligence at the time of the lower
What happens if I do not attend my hearing?
Parties are expected to appear and enter argument at a hearing or
have an agent appear on their behalf. Adequate notice of hearings
is given to the parties well in advance, so adjournments or postponements
are not automatically granted. Requests for postponements should
be made to the committee well in advance of the hearing. If a party
does not appear at the hearing in person or by agent, the panel
hearing the appeal, after consulting with the party in attendance,
- adjourn the hearing to another date,
- dismiss the appeal outright, or
- proceed with the hearing in the party’s absence.
May hearings be recorded?
The SMB committees routinely audio record all hearings. No other
person shall take or attempt to take a photograph, motion picture,
audio recording or other record capable of producing an oral or
visual reproduction by electronic or other means at a hearing. Upon
application, the committee can release its recording of the hearing
to a transcriber approved by the committee to prepare a transcript
of all or any part of the testimony recorded at the hearing at the
How does the committee give decisions?
After the hearing committee decisions are rendered in writing along
Can I appeal an Assessment Appeals, Planning Appeals and/or
Fire Prevention Appeals Committee decision to the court?
Any person affected by a decision of the Assessment Appeals, Planning
Appeals and/or Fire Prevention Appeals committee of the SMB may
appeal to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal on a leave to appeal
basis on a question of law or jurisdiction. A leave application
must be made within 30 days from the date of the decision. If the
court grants leave, the matter is heard at a later date by a panel
of the Court of Appeal judges. If the Court of Appeal finds that
the SMB erred it will provide direction as to how the matter should
be handled, such as rehearing or changing the SMB’s decision.
Can I appeal directly to the board or the Assessment Appeals
and/or Planning Appeals Committee?
Yes under specific circumstances. Contact
SMB staff for more information on the process for direct appeals.