A local services board (LSB) is a volunteer organization that has the authority to deliver approved services to residents in rural areas of Northern Ontario where there is no municipal government. This authority is granted under Regulation 737 of the Northern Services Boards Act (NSBA).

An LSB is not a municipality and does not have the same authority as one. Each LSB can deliver between one and nine basic services, including:

  • water supply
  • fire protection
  • garbage collection
  • sewage management
  • street and area lighting
  • recreation services
  • road maintenance
  • public library services
  • emergency telecommunications

How local services boards work

Area residents can vote to establish an LSB, dissolve an LSB, vary services or change the geographic area of an LSB.

Each LSB is unique in the services it offers its residents. Some LSBs choose to provide only one or two services while others can have up to the full nine services that are available under the Northern Services Boards Act.

LSB meetings must be public and advertised ahead of the meeting.

The board must hold public meetings for these purposes:

  • establish the LSB
  • annual election meetings
  • changing the services provided by the board
  • dissolving the LSB
  • reviewing the annual budget and audit report

The board establishes rules and procedures for carrying out business. Board members are responsible for communicating operations of the LSB and for managing finances and programs.

Local services board responsibilities include:

  • contracts for services, including their development and implementation
  • LSB policies for procurement, procedures and conflicts of interest, unless they contradict the NSBA
  • scope of the annual audit and any legal issues
  • meeting processes determined by the board that go beyond the NSBA requirements
  • managing all operational matters

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) provides guidance to LSBs on adding or changing services, boundary expansions or dissolving boards. NDMNRF also authorizes the approval of services, boundary expansions and dissolutions once residents vote in favour of these changes.

Ministry role:

  • clarifying NSBA requirements
  • LSB compliance with the NSBA
  • questions about the exercise of the board’s approved services
  • concerns about the board’s activities and financing of services

How local services boards are funded

LSBs generate revenue to cover the cost of delivering services through:

  • user fees or levies
  • fundraising
  • operating grants
  • other provincial and federal programs