City charters for Edmonton and Calgary

Learn about Edmonton and Calgary’s city charters and recent changes.


City charters are regulations that provide Edmonton and Calgary with additional authorities and flexibility with the aim of building strong, vibrant cities that attract trade and investment.

Need for city charters

Calgary and Edmonton are governed by the Municipal Government Act, as are all of Alberta’s municipalities. As the 2 largest urban centres in Alberta, the cities of Calgary and Edmonton face unique challenges, complexities and opportunities compared to other Alberta municipalities.

These challenges, complexities and opportunities are why Alberta’s 2 largest cities have charters – regulations that grant them additional flexibility with respect to provincial legislation and regulation.

About city charters

The city charters are regulations that modify or replace specific provisions in the Municipal Government Act – along with some other provincial acts and regulations – so they apply differently to the cities of Edmonton and Calgary compared to other municipalities. These modifications to how the legislation applies allow the cities additional flexibility and authorities.

Unless explicitly outlined in the charter regulation, all other legislation will continue to apply to the 2 cities.

In some instances, the city charters are enabling, meaning that the cities of Calgary and Edmonton can choose if, and when, they would like to use the additional authorities they are granted through charters.

The cities are required to hold public hearings when passing bylaws using charter authorities.

Changes to the city charters

In May 2024, changes to the off-site levies, inclusionary housing and building code bylaw authority provisions of the city charters were made to support attainable and affordable housing. The changes include:

  • off-site levies
  • inclusionary housing
  • building code bylaw authority

Off-site levies

Off-site levies were established to enable municipalities to charge developers a portion of the costs associated with servicing a new area. New requirements have now been added, such as responding to stakeholder feedback during levy consultations, and creating an appeal process through the Land and Property Rights Tribunal.

Inclusionary housing

These provisions allowed a municipality to require a developer or other land-use applicant to provide money or other resources to the municipality to be used for affordable housing units. Prior to the changes, neither Edmonton nor Calgary had used these charter provisions.

The changes repealed the inclusionary housing provisions in order to limit the potential for cost increases to new housing. This change also aligned the charters more closely with the Municipal Government Act, where unproclaimed inclusionary housing provisions were also removed.

Building code bylaw authority

Prior to the change, the city charters provided Edmonton and Calgary the ability to make bylaws regarding environmental matters in relation to provincial safety and building codes, including energy consumption and heat retention. The authority had been interpreted broadly by the cities to include the ability to require all construction within their jurisdiction to adopt a standard for energy efficiency higher than the Alberta edition of the National Building Code.

The provisions granting this authority were repealed to ensure the application of one uniform building code standard across the province going forward. Individual property owners can still choose to build to a higher energy efficiency standard than required by the provincial code.


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