Regional Governance and Service-Sharing Resources for Newfoundland and Labrador Communities

About the Project

Regional approaches to local government and broader governance processes have long been discussed as a means of advancing the interests of communities in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. In April of 2015, the provincial government announced that a new Regional Governance Advisory Committee would be created to provide advice to government on principles and key components of potential regional governance models. This Advisory Committee has identified key guiding principles for future regional governance initiatives or policies. These guiding principles suggest that regional governance in NL should:

  • Enhance and support current local governments
  • Facilitate regional services
  • Build capacity and assist local governments to make them stronger and more sustainable; and
  • Enhance and support economic and industrial development

(Source: Government of NL News Release, November 1, 2016).

These guiding principles and the main components identified by the Advisory Committee will inform upcoming public consultations on regional governance. These consultations, currently scheduled for Fall 2017, will collect input from the people of the province on the findings of the Advisory Committee and propose a series of regional government pilot projects proposed in various parts of the province.

Rural Resilience researchers, in close collaboration with Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL), have also been intimately involved in ongoing research and discussions on this possibility, with Dr. Kelly Vodden and other researchers conducting numerous studies on regional cooperation and regional models of government and governance for over 10 years. Examples include Canadian Regional Development, a nationwide SSHRC-funded study that investigated themes such as collaborative, multi-level governance, and place-based development in five rural regions across Canada, including two case studies from Newfoundland (Great Northern Peninsula and Gander-New-Wes-Valley regions).

As provincial discussions on regional governance culminate with the upcoming consultations and regional government pilots, the Rural Resilience team aims to facilitate these discussions by providing information that can inform decisions to be made on regional government approaches and supporting collaborative regional initiatives across the province. This site is a place to share some of those findings and resources from elsewhere to aid and inform this ongoing and critically important discussion for rural communities. Below are a number of key resources on some of the most commonly discussed regional government models from across Canada, regional service-sharing agreements, news on regional government discussions in NL, and other regional structures.

Completed Research Projects

Exploring a Regional Approach to Drinking Water Management as a Potential Solution to Water Management Challenges in the Strait of Belle Isle, NL.


Dr. Kelly Vodden

Vincent Chireh

This research is situated in the Strait of Belle Isle, which is located within the Northern Peninsula region of NL. Half of the 22 communities in the Strait of Belle Isle have public water supply systems while residents in the remaining communities provide and manage their own water supply. The area has experienced multiple drinking water challenges, including long-term boil water advisories (with several in place for 15-20 years), high levels of disinfectant by-products, failing infrastructure, and giardia outbreaks (Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, 2017). In partnership with communities in the Strait of Belle Isle, the project seeks to conduct a community-based participatory study involving case studies in and outside Newfoundland. The study will draw from multi-barrier and new regionalist themes to explore opportunities and capacities for regional approaches in the management of water supply services among communities as a potential solution to drinking water management challenges in the Strait of Belle Isle. This research will explore prospects for a regional approach in managing drinking water where rural communities with shared needs and/or geographical proximity collaborate (e.g. through shared infrastructure, capacity building, strategic collaboration, etc.) in addressing their water management challenges.

To see the final report, click here.

Resources on Regional Government Models

The following links provide resources related to different models of regional government from other provinces within Canada that give examples to inform options for consideration within NL:

Resources on Regional Service-Sharing

These resources include more specific examples of service-sharing agreements and arrangements around a particular municipal service area (e.g. drinking water, waste management, fire protection):

News on Regional Government in NL

Other Regional Structures