Status: Under review
Ministry responsible: Municipal Affairs
The Government of Alberta, the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary have developed city charters that came into force in spring 2018.
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.
Proposed changes to charter regulations
Changes to the Edmonton and Calgary city charters have been proposed to give the cities more flexibility in how they manage growth. The amendments address areas such as:
- expanding the use of off-site levies in new developments
- developing their own inclusionary housing programs
- managing their own debt limits
- adjusting local improvement tax timeframes, and other administrative items
Charter development timeline
- Nov 2018: the City Charters Fiscal Framework Act was introduced to provide a predictable funding framework for infrastructure projects in Calgary and Edmonton that is tied to provincial revenues. Additionally, proposed changes to the City Charters regulations were posted for information until Jan. 28, 2019.
- Spring 2018: City charters will be enacted as regulations under the Municipal Government Act.
- Winter 2018: Draft city charters regulation was posted for additional public and stakeholder comment from Jan 5. to Mar. 5. This feedback was used to inform changes to the draft regulation.
- Summer 2017: Draft city charters regulation was posted online for 60 days (Aug. 10 to Oct. 10) for public and stakeholder comment.
- Winter 2017: City charters were drafted for Calgary and Edmonton.
- Dec 2016: The 3 government parties reviewed all public and stakeholder feedback to inform the development of the city charters.
- Oct 2016: During city charters information sessions held in Edmonton and Calgary, stakeholders and members of the public reviewed policy proposals and provided feedback. This input was compiled in a What we Heard report (PDF, 949 KB) and was considered during the development of the draft city charters regulation.
- Nov 2015, Jan 2016: Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson met with the Premier and members of Cabinet to present their vision for a strengthened relationship between the province and the two cities.
- Oct 2014: The Government of Alberta, the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary signed an agreement to develop city charters (PDF, 500 KB) to support the cities’ unique needs.
The need for city charters
Calgary and Edmonton are governed by the Municipal Government Act (MGA), a one-size-fits-all approach to serving all of Alberta’s municipalities.
The MGA helps to define how Alberta’s municipalities operate, including how they raise funds to meet the needs of their citizens.
Due to their size and their leading roles in their regions, Calgary and Edmonton are hubs of opportunity, but they also face more pronounced challenges and complexities compared to other Alberta municipalities.
These challenges and complexities are why Alberta’s two largest cities have Charters – regulations that grant them additional flexibility with respect to provincial legislation and regulation.
About city charters
A city charter provides a city with specific flexibilities and authorities to better meet the needs of citizens.
The city charters for Calgary and Edmonton are regulations that enable the cities to modify or replace specific provisions in the Municipal Government Act and some other provincial acts and regulations.
Unless explicitly outlined in the charter regulation, all other legislation will continue to apply to the two cities.
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.
City charters include both regulatory changes and a collaboration agreement (PDF, 36 KB).
The collaboration agreement supports ongoing, long-term coordination between the two cities and the Government of Alberta.
The collaboration agreement is a commitment to cooperate on emerging matters of mutual interest, such as:
- social policy
- environment and climate change
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