Overview

Municipalities that share a common boundary must create a Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) with each other.

The ICF is a new legislated requirement that was introduced in the Modernized Municipal Government Act in 2016.

The ICFs must align with the requirements outlined in:

Frameworks are intended to:

  • provide for integrated and strategic planning, delivery and funding of intermunicipal services
  • allocate scarce resources efficiently in the providing local services
  • ensure municipalities contribute funding to services that benefit their residents

Municipal councils adopt their framework by passing matching bylaws that:

  • list services currently provided by each municipality; services being shared on an intermunicipal basis by the municipalities; and services provided by third parties
  • identify how each of these services would be best delivered
  • outline how intermunicipal services will be delivered and funded

Municipalities have until March 31, 2020 to complete the ICF.

ICF requirements

Municipalities are not required to provide an intermunicipal service if they agree that the service is better provided on their own.

What should be in an ICF

Each framework must address the following services:

  • transportation
  • water and wastewater
  • solid waste
  • emergency services
  • recreation, and
  • any other services that benefit residents in more than one of the municipalities that are parties to the framework

For each service, the ICF must:

  • list the services currently provided by each municipality
  • list the services being shared on an intermunicipal basis by the municipalities
  • list the services provided by third parties
  • identify how each of these services would be best delivered
  • outline how intermunicipal services will be delivered and funded

The ICF must also include:

  • a time frame for implementing intermunicipal services
  • an Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) unless municipalities have separately adopted one
  • provisions for a binding dispute resolution process to resolve implementation disputes

The ICF may contain:

  • details required to implement intermunicipal services
  • provisions for developing infrastructure for common benefit

Who needs to be involved

Required parties

All municipalities are required to have a framework with each municipality with which they share a common boundary.

For a typical urban municipality, the framework would be created with the rural municipality surrounding the urban municipality.

For a rural municipality, the framework would be created with each urban municipality within its boundary and with any other rural municipality that it shares a boundary with.

Optional parties

Other municipalities that do not have a common boundary may be a party to a framework. For example, a rural municipality and all of the urban municipalities within its boundary could choose to create a single framework.

Municipalities that are parties to a framework may invite an Indian band or Métis settlement to participate in the funding and delivery of services to be provided under a framework.

Exceptions

Municipalities that are members of a growth management board are not required to create a framework with other growth management board members, to the extent that required ICF components are addressed by the growth management board.

However, a growth management board member is still required to create a framework with a non-member municipality that it shares a boundary with.

The Minister may exempt one or more municipalities from the requirement to create an ICF.

ICF submissions

Municipalities are required to submit an ICF to Municipal Affairs within 90 days of its creation.

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Completed and signed ICF and IDP bylaws and documents may be submitted to Municipal Affairs via email to: ICFsubmissions@gov.ab.ca. All submissions must be accompanied by a completed ICF submission form (PDF, 1.8 MB).

If an agreement can’t be reached

Municipalities that are unable to reach agreement with another municipality on an ICF are encouraged to voluntarily enter into mediation in order to address any points of disagreement.

Municipalities that are unable to reach agreement with another municipality on the creation of an ICF by April 1, 2020 will be referred to arbitration.

  • The arbitrator must be chosen by the municipalities, or if they cannot agree, by the Minister.
  • Arbitration ends if municipalities create a framework by agreement.
  • The Arbitration Act does not apply to an ICF arbitration.

More information about arbitration can be found in the ICF Arbitration Fact Sheet (PDF, 737 KB).

Important dates

The following dates are for provided for informational purposes only. Exact dates for the implementation of each ICF will vary.

  • December 2016: The Modernized Municipal Government Act, containing the new requirements for ICFs was passed in the Legislature.
  • February 2018: ICF information sessions for municipal officials begin. Sessions are available to groups of municipalities by request. Requests can be made to the Intermunicipal Relations team at Municipal Affairs.
  • April 1, 2018: Part 17.2 of the Municipal Government Act relating to ICFs and the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework Regulation comes into force. Municipalities that complete their ICFs have up to 90 days after the creation of the ICF to submit the ICF to Municipal Affairs.
  • April 1, 2020: ICFs and IDPs are to be completed by this date. Municipalities that are unable to reach agreement on their ICF by this date will have to complete arbitration as outlined in the MGA and the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework Regulation.
  • April 1, 2021: Arbitrated frameworks are to be completed by this date.
  • April 2023 to April 2026: Municipalities are required to review their ICFs at least once every five years after the creation of the framework.

Publications

  • ICF Implementation Fact Sheet (PDF, 737 KB)
    • This fact sheet provides a summary of ICFs, including framework requirements and timeline for implementation.
  • ICF Arbitration Fact Sheet (PDF, 188 KB)
    • This fact sheet provides an overview of how arbitration applies when municipalities are unable to reach agreement on their ICFs, the role of the arbitrator, and the arbitration process.
  • ICF Workbook: Resource Guide for Municipalities (PDF, 12 MB)
    • The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (formerly knowns as the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties) and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association were funded by Alberta Municipal Affairs to develop a guide on ICF.
    • This workbook was developed to help municipalities develop ICF with other municipalities. It provides tools and information-based resources to better inform municipal processes, decision-making, and implementation related to the development of ICF.

Contact us

For more information, contact Municipal Affairs at:

Email: lgsmail@gov.ab.ca
Phone: 780-427-2225
Toll free: 310-0000 (toll free in Alberta)