Resolutions play a major role in determining how RMA advocates on behalf of members. They provide formal guidance for RMA advocacy efforts by highlighting rural municipal issues with province-wide impacts. Resolutions typically seek to change legislation, address funding challenges, or encourage alternative policy approaches by other levels of government.
Resolutions can either be endorsed by a district or submitted as an individual resolution for debate by the entire RMA membership. Resolutions can only be submitted by one of RMA’s full member municipalities. RMA recommends that all resolutions be vetted at the district level prior to being debated by all members on the convention floor. This will allow for resolution wording to be clarified and endorsed at the district level. The RMA membership meets twice annually and debates resolutions that have been endorsed at the district level or submitted individually.
RMA has a Resolutions Committee in place. The committee includes an elected official from each of the five districts and is chaired by a member of the RMA Board of Directors. The committee meets prior to each convention to review resolutions that have been endorsed at the district level or submitted individually prior to the resolution deadline. The committee’s role includes the following:
If an issue has arisen since the resolution deadline, members may present an emergent resolution for debate during the resolution session. The Resolution Committee will meet at convention to review any resolutions brought forward and determine if they meet the definition of emergent as outlined in RMA’s Resolution Process policy. If so, the resolution will be added to the resolution session and presented to the membership who will vote on whether to endorse the resolution. If the committee does not deem the resolution emergent, it will not be presented to the membership at the resolution session.
An effective resolution includes the following characteristics:
In addition to these characteristics, an effective resolution must have a clear title, preamble (background), operative clause and background. The operative clause is the “ask” and should provide a clear understanding of the issue. The operative clause should include clear direction as to how RMA will pursue advocacy efforts. RMA has developed a “resolutions tips” document which outlines the structure of a resolution. This document is distributed prior to each convention via member bulletin and is available on the RMA website.
The RMA Resolution Process Policy [PDF] frames the resolution process and includes information on the structure of the Resolution Committee.
Once a resolution is passed by the membership, it is formally advocated on by RMA. Resolutions have a three-year life cycle and are top of mind when the RMA develops positions or key messaging during that three-year period. Depending on how specific the direction in the resolution is, resolutions could either guide RMA’s broader advocacy work or directly lead to a specific advocacy action on the part of RMA, such as developing a report or committee.
After each convention, all endorsed resolutions are sent to appropriate government ministries (provincial and federal) and additional applicable organizations for their initial response. Active resolutions are also the focus of meetings with various government ministers. RMA board and staff refer to active resolutions when developing positions on key issues. They are a vital component of advocacy efforts within the organization.
RMA maintains an online, searchable database of all resolutions; both active and inactive. The online database is updated after each convention with resolutions that have been endorsed by the entire membership. RMA also distributes a member bulletin after each convention with the endorsed resolutions package attached.
Once responses to new resolutions are received from government, each resolution is reviewed and assigned one of the following statuses:
Active resolutions are reported on twice annually through the Advocacy Report Card which is available on the RMA website and distributed via member bulletin. During the development of the Advocacy Report Card, all active resolutions are reviewed and assessed if their current status still applies. An updated development is written for each resolution to ensure the most accurate information is tied to each specific resolution. This information is also updated on the online database.
It is important to note that just because a resolution has been assigned a status of Accepted, that status is still reviewed for every Advocacy Report Card. That status can be downgraded, depending on developments that have taken place.
A resolution’s operative clause provides direction for RMA to work with appropriate government ministries and stakeholders to meet the intent outlined. Not all resolutions will achieve the status of Accepted, Accepted in Principle or Accepted in Part during their active lifespan due to a number of factors. Changes in provincial leadership, Cabinet shuffles, provincial budget priorities and legislative consultation timelines can all impact the progress of a resolution during its active lifespan. That being said, even if a resolution has expired and has not yet reached the status of Accepted or Accepted in Principle, RMA will continue to bring that issue forward.
As an advocacy organization, RMA values thorough review and understanding of issues that have been raised through resolutions. Even after resolutions expire, regardless of their status, RMA continues to refer to them when related issues arise. Resolutions form the basis for advocacy efforts and examining the trends historically is an important part of that.
The RMA website is great resource for resolutions. It includes a searchable database with the most current developments, resolution writing tips and RMA’s Resolution Process Policy. Please contact the RMA Board of Directors or External Relations and Advocacy staff for information.