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Municipal Government Act to change how municipalities work together

Alberta municipalities will benefit from a modernized Municipal Government Act (MGA) in time for the next municipal elections in 2017.

The act is our province’s second largest piece of legislation and touches the daily lives of all Albertans by defining how their municipalities are governed, funded, and developed.

A key component of the updated legislation will be municipal partnerships. With the growing number of families in our province, a collaborative, forward-thinking approach to service delivery is needed now more than ever. As a result, the metropolitan regions of Calgary and Edmonton will form growth management boards.

“After years of consultation and a lack of leadership from the previous administration, our government is following through on its commitment to modernize municipal legislation. The structure will stress working together, growing together, and making our province better together. We are committed to a new era in provincial-municipal relations, one where communities work together to create a more collaborative, modern, efficient and sustainable future.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“AUMA is pleased to see that the government is committing to completing the MGA Review before the 2017 municipal election. This is a transformative opportunity, so taking time to get it done right is important. Continuing to dialogue as the legislation is being built is absolutely critical for municipalities to identify risks and opportunities within a new governance model of empowerment and their ability to resource those obligations.”

Helen Rice, Outgoing President, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association

The government will introduce the updated MGA in the Legislature in spring 2016. Municipal partners, community organizations, small businesses, industry, and Albertans will all have an opportunity to review the proposed amendments and provide feedback for several months before the Legislature will complete debate of the bill during the fall sitting. All changes to the MGA, including regulations, will be proclaimed before municipal elections in fall 2017.

“The Municipal Government Act is the guiding legislation for all of Alberta’s municipalities. The AAMDC has appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with the Government of Alberta and municipal partners to review the MGA and have a frank discussion about the role of municipalities in the province. I am confident that the revised MGA will allow all municipalities, through local decision making, to grow sustainably, work together, and be innovative  in meeting the needs of Albertans.”

Al Kemmere, President, Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties

“I am pleased that the new government has made this firm commitment to pass a revised MGA in 2016. After years of consultation, it’s good to see action on this important file.”

Naheed Nenshi, Mayor, City of Calgary

"The City of Edmonton looks forward to the completion of a modernized Municipal Government Act, which can complement the City Charter, and welcomes continued opportunities to support the development and review process."

Don Iveson, Mayor, City of Edmonton

The updated MGA will address outstanding issues and aim to achieve the following for Alberta municipalities:

  • strengthened provincial-municipal relations;
  • greater regional collaboration;
  • more sustainable and inclusive development;
  • further responsibility for land use and environmental conservation; and
  • increased fairness and consistency for Alberta taxpayers.

Background

The MGA came into force in 1995. The current MGA review began in 2012. Consultation has been comprehensive, involving input from more than 1,200 written submissions, approximately 1,500 people at 77 community meetings, and 15 months of intensive policy discussions with municipal and industry representatives.

In Spring 2015, the Municipal Government Amendment Act (known as Bill 20) was passed in the Legislature. It covered items that received consensus from municipal and industry representatives. Outstanding issues that will be discussed and resolved in the coming months include, property assessment, taxation powers, affordable housing, land dedication, offsite levies, appeal boards, and enforcement. 


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