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- Saskatchewan. Dept. of Rural Development
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The Department of Rural Development was established in 1983 by an act which changed the name of the Department from the Department of Rural Affairs. However, there was little change in function. Its responsibilities included: provision of technical and financial assistance for road and bridge construction and maintenance; operation of ferry crossings; rural municipality traffic safety; advisory assistance to rural municipalities on community planning, resource management and development; revenue sharing through annual grants; and review of rural municipalities' financial statements, budgets and accounting procedures. The Department of Rural Development also administered municipal employees' superannuation until 1986 and had representation in the Environmental Impact Assessment review process.
The Department was administered by a Minister and Deputy Minister. Reporting to the Deputy Minister was the Executive Director of Engineering Services, responsible for Ferry Services, Drafting Services, Bridge Services and Road Services, and the Assistant Deputy Minister of General Services, responsible for the Municipal Employees' Superannuation Commission, Municipal Management and Finance, and Community Planning Services in Regina and Saskatoon. The Deputy Minister was also directly responsible for Administrative Services and Planning and Research. A Board of Examiners (Rural) appointed under the Department's act issued certificates of qualification to rural municipality secretary/treasurers, and other qualified individuals.
In 1985 the ferry crossings function was assigned to the Transportation Manager under the Road Services Branch. 1985 was also the last year that the Municipal Employees' Superannuation Commission reported to the Minister of Rural Development, before transferring to the Minister of Finance.
In response to the Task Force on Rural Development 1985 report, a Rural Development Corporation Program was introduced in 1986. To accommodate this expanded mandate, the Department re-organized into three divisions in 1987: Transportation Services; Management Services; and Development Services.
Transportation Services Division included the branches of Transportation Planning, Bridge Services and Road Services. Management Services Division was composed of Administration, Municipal Finance and Advisory Services and Drafting Services. Development Services Division consisted of Program Development Branch and Community Planning and Development Branch.
The new Development Services Division provided a range of social and economic development programs and services to small communities and rural municipalities. This division liaised with newly established community economic development committees and rural development corporations, to encourage enhanced local autonomy, development diversification and job creation.
The year 1988 brought more changes to the Department of Rural Development with an expanded emphasis on economic development and diversification. On August 1, the branches of Extension and Lands were transferred from the Department of Agriculture. Extension Services was responsible for the establishment of Agriculture Development and Diversification District (ADD) Boards, which advised the minister and implemented Rural Development programs on a local basis. These new ADD boards, committees and regional councils replaced the old Agriculture Extension District Board system. Lands Branch was responsible for administering provincial crown agricultural land, and promoting proper land use, and consisted of three major programs: Crown land sales; Provincial Community Pastures; and, Crown land leases.
The Extension and Lands branches formed part of the new Rural Service Network in partnership with the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation. The Network provided information to rural residents on agriculture, economic development and diversification, integrating program delivery through one agency. Three Rural Service Centres opened during 1988-1989 at Leader, Watrous and Wolseley, as an integral part of the network, with more planned for the following year.
This new focus brought changes to the Department. The Development Services Division was renamed the Rural Service Division, and included: the Rural Service Branch (containing Extension Services); the Community Planning and Development Branch; the Lands Branch; and, the Staff and Client Relations Branch. System Services and Communications branches were also added to the Management Services Division.
During the 1990-1991 fiscal year, the Department of Rural Development was re-organized into four divisions shaped by the Department's strategic plan. The divisions were: Transportation Services; Administration, Revenue and Municipal Services; Resource Management Services (later renamed Information and Resource Management Services); and Extension Services (later renamed Agricultural and Community Development Services).
The Transportation Services Division was composed of Bridge, Road, Transportation Planning, Drafting and Ferry services. The Administration, Revenue and Municipal Services Division consisted of Municipal Services, and Finance and Administration branches. The Resource Management Services Division included Resource Management, Client Services, Crown Lands, and Policy and Program Initiatives. The Extension Service Division was made up of Extension and Community Development. The Communication Service provided information, marketing and public relations support to all of the divisions.
In its last year of operation, the Department of Rural Development reduced its divisions to three: maintaining the Transportation Services Division; the Administration, Revenue and Municipal Services Division, and creating a new Crown Lands Division. The other functions of Community Development Services, Communication Services and Client Services continued, but reported directly to the Executive Office.
Effective March 17, 1993, government reorganization resulted in the functions of the Department of Rural Development being assigned to the Department of Municipal Government and the Department of Agriculture and Food.
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