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Alberta is made up of cities, towns, villages, hamlets, summer villages, municipal districts and specialized municipalities, all of which are considered municipalities under the legislative framework outlined in the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The MGA touches the daily lives of all Albertans, no matter which type of municipality they reside in. This legislation helps to define how our municipalities function, develop land, raise funds for things like services, and more. In other words, it is the guide to how Alberta municipalities operate.
The purposes of municipalities, as defined in Section 3 of the MGA, are:
- to provide good government
- to foster the well-being of the environment
- to provide services, facilities or other things that, in the opinion of council, are necessary or desirable for all or a part of the municipality
- to develop safe and viable communities
As local governments, municipalities are often associated with municipal councils and the people who serve as the elected officials on those councils. Municipalities provide services to the communities that they serve, providing services such as road maintenance, water and wastewater utilities, waste management, and emergency management.
In 1995 Alberta was the first province in Canada to provide municipalities with "natural person power". With natural person powers, municipalities have the capacity, rights, powers, and privileges of a natural person (subject to the limits set out in the MGA) and can therefore exercise broad powers that are not explicitly set out in legislation. These powers address daily operational matters such as entering into contracts, acquiring property, and hiring staff.
In addition to municipalities, there are other forms of local governments and authorities, such as school boards, regional services commissions, growth management boards, and regional health authorities. The ministry of Municipal Affairs provides resources and expertise to municipalities, members of the general public, and boards and associations that support municipalities.
Learn more about municipalities
Check out the links below to find information about municipalities.
- Municipal officials directory
- The municipal officials directory provides contact information for municipalities such as councillors, chief administrative officers (CAO) and the contact responsible for Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP).
- Municipal profiles
- The municipal profiles provides a summary of basic information about each municipality and regional services commission in Alberta, including municipal contact information, incorporation history and restructuring, municipally collected statistics, revenues and expenses, property assessment, and tax rates for each municipality.
- Municipal Affairs population lists
- Each year, Municipal Affairs prepares a population list based on the latest federal and municipal census data available. The population lists are used for policy development, land use planning, service delivery and other purposes.
- Alberta Regional Dashboard
- The Alberta Regional Dashboard compiles and publishes data from over 70 datasets from across the Government of Alberta for each municipality.
- Provincial legislation and regulations for municipalities
- Municipal Affairs is responsible for over 15 statutes (or Acts) and over 180 regulations that apply to municipalities, regional services commissions, safety codes agencies, public libraries and emergency management entities.
Municipal information bulletins
Find information bulletins related to key municipal dates and changes that may affect municipalities.
Municipal associations in Alberta
- Rural Municipalities of Alberta
- Rural Municipalities of Alberta is an independent association comprising and representing Alberta’s 69 counties and municipal districts.
- Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
- The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association represents Alberta's urban municipalities. This includes cities, towns, villages, summer villages, and specialized municipalities, as well as associate and affiliate members.
- Association of Summer Villages of Alberta
- The Association of Summer Villages of Alberta is a non-profit association that provides a common forum and represents the interests of all summer villages in Alberta.
To read more about municipal government in Alberta, please see the following:
- Provincial legislation governing municipalities
- The Municipal Government Act Review and change management resources
- Property assessment and taxation
- Roles and responsibilities for municipal officials
- Municipal finances and financial statements
- Public participation in municipal government
- Tax recovery process for municipalities
- Contact information for municipalities and municipal officials
- Grants for municipalities
- Framework for land use planning and development
- Municipal restructuring and changes to municipalities
- Municipal elections
- Public libraries
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