A rural municipality, often abbreviated RM, is a type of municipal status in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, to be called rural municipalities and soon to be Prince Edward Island, or a group of municipal status types in the provinces of Alberta and Nova Scotia.
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The Municipal Ordinance of 1883 was enacted by the Northwest Territories to provide services to a rural area and provide some means of municipal governing. Saskatchewan and Alberta became provinces in 1905. The Government of the North-West Territories issued 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 that were later reformed into rural municipalities.
In Saskatchewan, local improvement districts (1898) were the precursors of rural municipalities. Discontinuance of local improvement districts in favour of smaller rural municipalities began on December 13, 1909. Typically, an rural municipality consists of about nine townships, each six miles by six miles in area. Settled areas of denser populations could form urban municipalities such as villages, towns and cities. 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.