When this blog started, the goal was to provide First Nations and local governments with stories and advice focused on the process of developing municipal type service agreements. These agreements are integral to many First Nation communities, providing members sustainable access to basic everyday services such as water, sewer, fire protection, and garbage collection.

Developing a service agreement can be complex and intimidating to those tasked with the important role of administering these services. The process however, can be broken down into stages:

  1. Identifying Your Needs.
  2. Determine if a service agreement is the best option, and if it is feasible.
  3. Work together with your service delivery partner to develop principles and a process for negotiation.
  4. Negotiate the terms of the agreement.
  5. Sign the agreement (and host a signing ceremony!).
  6. Administer the agreement for ongoing service delivery.

The Pathways for Service Delivery website houses templates, guidebooks, and other resources to guide First Nations and local governments through the different stages of developing a service agreement. The newly released handbooks, Developing Municipal Type Service Agreements, act as a compliment to those resources. These handbooks serve as bridging documents to the Pathways to Service Delivery Guide and the service agreement templates developed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). A handbook has been developed for some of the most common types of service agreements: Water and Sewer Services, Fire Protection Services, and Garbage Collection and Disposal Services.

The Pathways to Service Delivery guide provides and overview of what is needed to negotiate a service agreement. It provides suggestions, tips, and resources as well as where to find other helpful resources. However, it does not show step by step instructions on the many intricacies of physically developing an agreement. On the other end of the spectrum, the FCM Templates act as guides for drafting a service agreement. It includes clauses that can be altered, added, and deleted to ensure the agreement is tailored to meet the unique needs of a community.

Developing Municipal Type Service Agreements Handbook outlines 11 core components, or contract terms, that typically make up the terms of a service agreement. It identifies certain decisions that will need to be made in order to craft terms that reflect your unique service agreement, as well as important points to consider when making those decisions. Similarity to the FCM Templates, the Handbook also highlights example contract terms that can be used or modified directly in your service agreement.

The Developing Municipal Type Service Agreements Handbook is tailored to those ready and negotiate the terms of their agreement. Think you’re ready to use this handbook? Can you answer yes to each of the following questions?

  1. Do you have an understanding of what your service needs are?
  2. Have you identified that a service agreement is the most effective way of meeting these needs?
  3. Have you developed a memorandum of understanding and/or principles for working together with your neighbouring municipality?
  4. Have you determined that service delivery through a service agreement is feasible?
  5. Have you done some preparation to understand your neighbouring community better?

Once you can positively answer the questions above, you’ve likely done the prep work necessary to ensure the negotiation stage of developing a service agreement is as smooth as possible. Nervous about the negation process itself? Read our blog post on ‘The 10 Top Tips for Negotiating a Service Agreement’.