Halifax Regional Council

Halifax Regional Council is the governing body of Halifax, known as the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Halifax is governed by a mayor-council system, where councillors are elected from sixteen geographic districts though a first past the post system and the Mayor is elected via a municipality wide first past the post vote. Halifax Regional Council was formed in 1996 and consisted of twenty-three councillors and one mayor. It was reduced in size to sixteen councillors and the mayor in 2012.[1] The council meets at Halifax City Hall.

Halifax Regional Council
Term limits
Preceded byCouncil of City of Halifax
Council of City of Dartmouth
Council of Town of Bedford
Halifax County Council
New session started
Mike Savage
since October 15, 2016
Deputy Mayor
Tony Mancini = November 8, 2018
Seats16 plus Mayor
CommitteesStanding Committees
Length of term
4 years
AuthorityHalifax Regional Municipality Charter, 2008
SalaryMayor $176,034
Deputy Mayor $90,918
Councillors $82,643
Last election
October 15, 2016
Next election
October 2020
E. Mari Merces
Meeting place
Council Chambers
Halifax City Hall
Halifax, NS
Halifax Regional Council


The powers and authority of Halifax are laid out in the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (2008).[2] Halifax Regional Council has established Standing Committees, Community Councils and Advisory Committees to aid in policy development and decision making.[3][4]

Standing Committees are composed of Councillors, and have responsibility over key functional areas of the municipality, such as transportation or the environment, and can propose, review, debate prior to forwarding reports to Council with recommendations.[3] Community Councils are composed of Councillors and have purview over development, land use, park and community issues in their geographic area, as well as appointments to Standing Committees.[4] Advisory committees include Councillors and citizens, and provide specific advice.[5]

Generally each Councillor sits on two Standing Committees, one or more external boards, and one or more advisory committees. The Mayor is a member of all committees and is entitled to one vote. Residents can only make presentations to committees and community councils, not Regional Council, either through formal presentations prior to or public participation at the end of each meeting.

Standing Committees

There are six standing committees of Regional Council. Each committee has six members. The Executive Committee is composed of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Chair or designated representative appointed by each of the other five standing committees. The remaining five standing committees are appointed through a process that sees each Community Council appoint a representative to ensure geographic balance, and the remaining three members appointed by Council based on expressions of interest.[3]

  • Executive Standing Committee
  • Appeals Standing Committee
  • Audit & Finance Standing Committee
  • Community Planning & Economic Development Standing Committee
  • Environment & Sustainability Standing Committee
  • Transportation Standing Committee

Advisory committees

There are eighteen advisory committees of Council, 12 appointed by Regional Counci and reporting to it through the Standing Committees, and 6 appointed by and reporting to Community Councils.[5]

Advisory Committees of Regional Council

  • Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • Active Transportation Advisory Committee
  • ArtsHalifax Advisory Committee
  • Community Design Advisory Committee
  • Design Review Committee
  • Grants Committee
  • Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Advisory Committee
  • Heritage Advisory Committee
  • Investment Policy Advisory Committee
  • Port Wallace Community Public Participation Committee
  • Regional Watersheds Advisory Board
  • Special Events Advisory Committee

Advisory Committees of Community Council

  • Districts 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee
  • North West Planning Advisory Committee
  • Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee
  • St. Margaret's Bay Coastal Planning Advisory Committee
  • Western Common Advisory Committee

Boards and Commissions

There are two broad types of boards and commission to which HRM appoints Councillors and citizens. First, there are four boards of the regional municipality described by provincial statute that function as arms length boards delivering municipal services, or managing municipal assets. The second are external boards that have been established by other levels of government (Airport, Seaport, etc), are organizations that HRM is a voluntary member of (UNSM, etc) or via contract with HRM but are not subject to direct control by the municipality (Halifax Partnership, etc).

Boards of Regional Municipality

External Board Appointments

Community Councils

A Community Council in Nova Scotia's Halifax Regional Municipality is a form of local government consisting of several councillors from the larger Halifax Regional Council. Community councils represent a geographic area covering anywhere from five to six municipal districts where councillors consider local matters, make recommendations to Halifax Regional Council, and provide opportunities for public input. The current community councils were adopted after the 2012 election.[3]

List of Community Councils

Current city council

Office of the Mayor

The Office of the Mayor is located on the third floor of Halifax City Hall.[6] Staffing roles and hiring are directed by the Mayor with the support of the CAO. The current staff of the office consists of

  • Chief of Staff
  • Special Assistant to the Mayor
  • Senior Policy Advisor
  • Community Liaison Coordinator
  • Administrative Support
  • Administrative Assistant


The Council Support Office is located on the fourth floor of Halifax City Hall,[7] with one remote office in Musquodoboit Harbour that is staffed part time, and other unstaffed offices in municipal buildings in some districts. Staffing roles and hiring are the responsibility of the Manager Council Support under the office of the CAO. The current staff of the office consists of nine full time and two part time staff, including the manager.

District 1 Waverley – Fall River – Musquodoboit ValleySteve Streatch
District 2 Preston – Chezzetcook – Eastern ShoreDavid Hendsbee
District 3 Dartmouth South – Eastern PassageBill Karsten
District 4 Cole Harbour – WestphalLorelei Nicoll
District 5 Dartmouth CentreSam Austin
District 6 Harbourview – Burnside – Dartmouth EastTony Mancini
District 7 Peninsula South DowntownWaye Mason
District 8 Peninsula NorthLindell Smith
District 9 Armdale Peninsula WestShawn Cleary
District 10 Halifax – Bedford Basin WestRussell Walker
District 11 Spryfield – Sambro Loop – Prospect RoadSteve Adams
District 12 Timberlea – Beechville – Clayton Park WestRichard Zurawski
District 13 Hammonds Plains – St. Margaret'sMatt Whitman
District 14 Middle/Upper Sackville – Beaver Bank – LucasvilleLisa Blackburn
District 15 Lower SackvilleVacant
District 16 Bedford – WentworthTim Outhit



Elections are held every four years on leap years. By-elections for council seats have been held in 1998, 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2007 after some regional councillors were elected to the provincial legislature.

An examination of boundaries took place throughout 2003/04 upon which there was a redistribution of districts. The 2004 municipal election saw the combination of two districts into one in Cole Harbour, as well as the creation of a new district in Clayton Park West.

Election results

See also


  1. To confirm the number of councillors and polling districts and to alter the boundaries of polling districts
  2. Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (2008)
  3. Administrative Order Number 1 Respecting the Procedures of the Council
  4. Administrative Order Number 48 Respecting the Creation of Community Councils
  5. Community Council Advisory Committees
  6. Office of the Mayor, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  7. Halifax Council
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