City wants residency clause made a condition of employment

Saint John, N.B., wants its employees to live within city limits

Despite legal advice to the contrary, the city council in Saint John, N.B., wants to force all of its employees to live within city limits.

On Monday night council voted to require the 12 most senior managers to live in Saint John but asked the city manager to develop a policy that will make a residency clause a condition of employment, according to a report from CBC news.

Currently, about one-quarter of all city employees live outside the city. The city already has a residency clause but stopped enforcing it after a Supreme Court of Canada decision raised questions about the legality. Councillor Eric Teed wants to start enforcing the rule again until the courts stop them.

He said forcing workers to live in the city means more homeowners will pay taxes to city coffers, employees will be closer to work in case of an emergency and they will develop stronger loyalties to Saint John.

“I think people that work for the city have a moral obligation to live here,” said Councillor Vic Fitzgerald.

But Councillor Carl White said he is opposed to pursuing such a sweeping residency clause if it would not hold up in court. “Why have to pay money to do that, if you’ve been advised by our city solicitor that it may not be appropriate to do it anyway?” he asked.

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