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Prentice government opens discussions with Calgary and Edmonton to develop new city charters

The province’s two largest cities have entered into an agreement with the Alberta government that paves the way for the development of city charters.

The Framework Agreement, which was signed by Premier Jim Prentice, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Municipal Affairs Minister Diana McQueen, means all parties will work together to formalize an agreement that recognizes the evolving needs of each city and their relationship with the province.

City charters will provide both cities with the tools needed for each city as they manage growth and provide services to their residents.

Examples include:

  • Providing the cities with enhanced authority to create bylaws to better meet their local priorities that are currently under provincial authority.
  • Create for-profit corporations to deliver services and programs.
  • Enhanced flexibility and increased authority around social policies.

A fiscal framework will also be discussed.

“Our government fully recognizes that Calgary and Edmonton have unique challenges, unique growth pressures, but also unique opportunities. This Framework Agreement reaffirms and strengthens the province’s commitment to support both Edmonton and Calgary in their aspirations for the future.”

Premier Jim Prentice

“This is a very positive step in creating a new relationship between the province and our big cities, but we still have a lot of work to do. I’m looking forward to working with Mayor Iveson and the provincial government on this file.”

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

“Today’s event represents a significant and meaningful step forward in the creation of a new and more mature relationship between the City of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta. I’m pleased that both the Premier and Minister McQueen have acknowledged this critical work and have moved quickly to get the process underway. However, this is just the first step. The proof of our dedication to making real and meaningful change in the lives of Edmontonians and Albertans will become apparent in the months ahead.”

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson

Alberta grows by about 100,000 people per year and many people choose to live in either Calgary or Edmonton. Both cities are vibrant world-class communities that are vital to Alberta’s prominent place on the world stage. This Framework Agreement for Charters sets a course for forging a new relationship between the cities and the province through the development of a charter for each city.

This partnership will be based on the understanding that the cities and the province have great strengths and shared interests and that, in working together, great strides can be made in maintaining and bolstering Alberta’s global presence.

In June 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Edmonton, Calgary and the Government setting out the parameters for discussions about city charters. This commitment has now been renewed with a three-phase approach to the discussions:

  • Phase one will address matters specific to the two cities and Municipal Affairs (MA) by Spring 2015;
  • Phase two will address matters between the two cities, MA and any other Government of Alberta ministries by Fall 2015; and
  • Phase three will address the development of a new fiscal framework for the two cities by Spring 2016.

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