After a months-long municipal inspection, the City of Chestermere was found to be managed in an irregular, improper and improvident manner.

The inspection, which was led by an independent, non-partisan expert in municipal governance, involved extensive interviews and collected information from a wide range of sources to arrive at its findings and recommendations. 

As a result of the inspection, 12 binding directives were issued by the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

September update

Alberta’s government has received notice of legal action from the City of Chestermere. We are reviewing the court submission. The directives issued by the Minister in March 2023 are still binding. The Official Administrator remains in place, and his work continues.

On August 2, the Minister of Municipal Affairs met with members of Chestermere city council and senior administration to explain his concerns with the city’s compliance with some of the ministerial directives and the supervision of the Official Administrator. 

The City of Chestermere is directed to provide additional information and respond to the minister’s concerns according to specific timelines, no later than September 29, 2023. This deadline allows all members of Chestermere council to have sufficient time to review the concerns, discuss in open council as required, and respond in writing to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

Inspection process and final report

A municipal inspection is a legislated mechanism established under the Municipal Government Act to help a municipality return to good governance.

The Municipal Government Act does not specify the format of an inspection. However, a municipal inspection is not a public inquiry or a court process and does not require procedures such as the provision of testimony under oath. 

An inspector typically gathers information about the situation through steps such as conducting personal interviews, reviewing documents, and observing meetings. They then provide the minister with their findings based on information they gathered and their own knowledge and experience. Steps are taken throughout the inspection process to provide procedural fairness.

Mr. George Cuff was appointed to conduct a formal, third-party inspection of the City of Chestermere's management, administration and operations from May to September, 2022.

Mr. Cuff is widely recognized as one of Canada’s leading authorities on municipal governance. He interviewed all members of council and senior administration, including more than 9 hours of personal interviews with the Mayor.

The inspection report that Mr. Cuff prepared is a comprehensive and thorough review of governance in the City of Chestermere, outlining a number of significant concerns, as well as recommendations for addressing those concerns. It was submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs in September 2022.

The Alberta government shared the completed report in Chestermere with residents at a public information session on March 15, 2023.

Minister’s directives

The Minister of Municipal Affairs reviewed the municipal inspection report as well as comments from council members and senior administration. 

The minister considers that the City of Chestermere is managed in an irregular, improper and improvident manner and has issued 12 binding directives through a Ministerial Order requiring the City of Chestermere to take action.

Next steps

The city must report to the Minister of Municipal Affairs on its actions to address the directives within set timelines.

Government will monitor the city’s progress and can provide support such as advice, training and potential grants to resolve intra-council disputes if requested.

If these directives are not carried out to the satisfaction of the minister, further orders may be issued, potentially including removal of one or more councillors and/or a chief administrative officer.

Information session

Government held a public information session in Chestermere with residents on March 15.

How we got here

  • January 7, 2022

    The Minister of Municipal Affairs began receiving complaints related to the administration and governance of the City of Chestermere.

  • March 10, 2022

    The Minister of Municipal Affairs ordered a preliminary review to investigate complaints.

  • May 9, 2022

    The Minister of Municipal Affairs concluded that sufficient potential concerns existed to justify an in-depth inspection.

    Municipal governance expert, George Cuff, was appointed inspector and asked to conduct a formal, third-party inspection of the City of Chestermere's management, administration and operations.

    The inspection looked into issues relating to:

    • members of council acting alone and outside of a council resolution
    • the complaints process for code of conduct infractions
    • members of council performing administrative functions and duties
    • improper council meeting procedures and conduct
    • sale of municipal property not in accordance with the Municipal Government Act
  • November 2, 2022

    Confidential copies of the completed inspector's report and a list of potential actions that the Minister of Municipal Affairs may direct was delivered to each member of the city council.

    The city council provided comments on the inspection report, sharing their input with Alberta's government. 

  • March 15, 2023

    Government held a public information session to present the municipal inspection report to residents of Chestermere.

    The Minister of Municipal Affairs issued 12 binding directives through a Ministerial Order requiring the City of Chestermere to take action.

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