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A rural municipality, often abbreviated RM, is a form of municipality in the Canadianmarker provinces of Manitobamarker and Saskatchewanmarker, perhaps best comparable to counties or townships in the western United Statesmarker.

History

The Municipal Ordinance of 1883 was enacted by the North-West Territoriesmarker to provide services to a rural area and provide some means of municipal governing. Saskatchewan and Alberta became provinces in 1905.North West Territorial Government issues Statute Labour Ordinance (1897) and sets of Fire Districts, Statute Labour and Fire (SLF) Districts or Statute Labour Districts. Community residents could pay taxes or supply a couple days per quarter section labour constructing roads, bridges, fireguards instead of paying taxes. The prairie fire in the 19th century were devastating affairs. Fire districts were later called Local Improvement Districts which themselves were reformed into Rural Municipalities.

In Saskatchewan, Local Improvement Districts (1898), typically called LID, were the precursors of Rural Municipalities. December 13, 1909 saw the beginning of the discontinuance of Local improvement districts in favour of smaller rural municipal areas. Typically, an RM consists of about nine townships, each 6 miles by six miles in area. Settled areas of denser populations could form urban municipalities with as village, town or city governance. Above the tree line in northern Saskatchewan the large Northern Local Improvement District was replaced by the Department of Northern Saskatchewan in 1972 and was not subdivided into smaller Rural Municipalities. RM 43 Old Post is the largest Rural Municipality and it was formed from the last Local Improvement District.

Alberta had numerical Improvement Districts which became Municipal Districts.

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