The provincial government is made up of MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly), each of whom represent a portion of the province. These sections of the province are called constituencies (you may also know them as electoral districts, or ridings). Each constituency should have roughly the same population of voters. This means that cities like Regina and Saskatoon have many constituencies because their population is dense, and areas like northern Saskatchewan have fewer constituencies where the population is low and spread out. Over time, populations change as people move and towns grow. To accommodate this the boundaries of the constituencies are reviewed every 10 years.
In the next general election Saskatchewan will gain three additional constituencies, for a new total of 61. These new boundaries passed into law on May 15, 2013, and new maps can be found online. Almost all the boundaries have changed, some more significantly than others. Each voter should take a look at these new maps and double-check which constituency they will be voting in by using the ‘Find My Constituency’ online tool.
There was a long process to figure out these new boundaries. The Saskatchewan Constituency Boundaries Commission spent most of 2012 working on this project. They consulted the public regularly to ensure that every piece of feedback from individuals and groups was taken into consideration. The new constituencies don’t take effect until the next general election on April 4, 2016.
To make things a little bit more confusing, there will be new boundaries for the federal election, too. Similarly, every 10 years at the federal level the boundaries of constituencies are reviewed, and an attempt is made to even out the population in each. The boundaries at the federal level do not match the provincial level. There are much fewer federal constituencies than provincial constituencies (14 federal vs 61 provincial).
The important message is that you should double-check your constituency (both federal and provincially) before the election. This will impact which candidates you can vote for and the information you might want to gather before casting your vote.