Table of contents

Overview

Municipalities have been allocated $14.1 billion (including the Basic Municipal Transportation Grant) since the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) program launched in 2007. Communities have been able to build and rehabilitate:

  • roadways and bridges
  • water and wastewater systems
  • public transit facilities
  • recreation and sport facilities
  • other key local priorities

The MSI program is being extended until 2023-24, after which it will be replaced with the Local Government Fiscal Framework.

Funding

2021

In 2021, MSI is providing $1.226 billion in funding:

  • $1.196 billion capital funding
  • $30 million operating funding

MSI Capital funding will average $722 million per year between 2021 and 2023.

Current guidelines for MSI capital and operating programs are available in the Program resources section.

Funding allocations

MSI funding is distributed to municipalities after legislative approval of the program budget, submission of sufficient project applications, and submission and/or certification of Statement of Funding and Expenditures.

Use of all funding must follow the terms and conditions outlined in the MSI capital and operating guidelines.

MSI funding

MSI funding can only be confirmed for the current program year as updated municipal population, education tax requisition and local road length information are required to calculate future annual funding allocations. The MSI funding formula also includes base funding for all municipalities and sustainable investment funding for municipalities with limited local assessment bases.

A portion of MSI funding is allocated via the funding formula that was in place under the former BMTG program, which was consolidated with the MSI in 2014. The BMTG funding formula is based on municipal status:

  • Calgary and Edmonton receive funding based on litres of taxable road-use gasoline and diesel fuel sold in the province
  • remaining cities and urban service areas receive funding based on a combination of population and length of primary highways
  • towns, villages, summer villages, improvement districts and the Townsite of Redwood Meadows receive funding based on population
  • rural municipalities and Metis Settlements receive funding based on a formula that takes into account kilometres of open road, population, equalized assessment and terrain

MSI funding and individual allocations require legislative and ministerial approval as noted in program guidelines.

Unspent funds

Unspent operating funds may be carried into the next calendar year if a municipality is unable to complete a project. Funds must be used for eligible MSI operating activities by December 31 of the second year.

Unspent capital funds may be carried forward a total of 6 years but must be spent on an accepted project by December 31 of the sixth year.

Allocation amounts by municipality

MSI allocations for 2021 and prior years are available on Alberta's Open Government website.

Eligibility

All municipalities in Alberta are eligible for funding based on the terms set out in their long-term MSI funding agreement. For the purpose of municipal grants, improvement districts, special areas, Metis Settlements and the Townsite of Redwood Meadows are considered municipalities.

Municipalities determine projects and activities to be funded based on local priorities within the general criteria set out in the program guidelines and are encouraged to take a long-term approach to planning for capital projects. Municipalities may choose to contribute funds for use towards eligible MSI projects to other municipalities, regional services commissions or non-profit organizations.

Eligible projects

A detailed list of eligible project activities is available in the MSI capital and/or operating guidelines located in the Program resources section.

Capital projects

Eligible capital projects include municipal:

  • roads
  • bridges
  • public transit vehicles or facilities
  • emergency services facilities or equipment
  • water and wastewater systems
  • solid waste management facilities or equipment
  • regional and community airport facilities or equipment
  • other municipal buildings such as recreation and sports facilities, libraries, public works buildings and cultural and community centres

Operating projects

Eligible operating projects include:

  • capacity building activities that improve efficiency or effectiveness
  • municipal services
  • planning activities
  • assistance to non-profit organizations

To help municipalities in addressing financial pressures resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic, operating project eligibility was expanded for the 2020 program year (see the 2020 Addendum to MSI Operating Program Guidelines for more information).

For the 2021 program year, MSI Operating project eligibility is returning to normal and the 2020 addendum is no longer in effect.

Program resources

MSI capital and operating guidelines

Additional resources:

Reporting

Statements of Funding and Expenditures (SFEs) for the 2020 program year are due by May 1, 2021.

Municipalities can submit their capital and operating SFEs through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative Online (MSIO) system.

All MSI documentation, including MSI capital project applications and amendments, operating spending plans and capital and operating SFEs, must be submitted through the MSIO system.

These documents are not accepted through email, fax or post. A signed copy of the MSIO documentation is not required.

Accessing MSIO

Access to MSIO is available through MAConnect, the web portal that provides Government of Alberta staff and external stakeholders secure access to Municipal Affairs' key business applications.

Individuals can request access to MSIO through their municipal MAConnect Stakeholder Administrator. Municipalities that need to update their Stakeholder Administrator will have to submit a new Stakeholder Agreement before requesting access to MSIO.

To request a Stakeholder Agreement or for MSIO support please see the Contact section.

MSIO user guides

Grant recipients

Accepted projects by municipality

Future of MSI

MSI has been extended by 2 years from its planned conclusion date, and will be replaced with the Local Government Fiscal Framework beginning in 2024-25. This includes capital funding legislated under the Local Government Fiscal Framework Act and non-legislated operating funding.

View the MSI allocation estimates (PDF, 444 KB) for the remaining 2 years of the program, 2022 and 2023. These estimates were prepared based on annual MSI program targets of $515 million announced in Budget 2021, and are subject to legislative approval of subsequent provincial budgets.

Contact

Connect with the programs:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

Connect with the MSI program:
Phone: 780-422-7125
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected] (MSI Capital Grants) or
[email protected] (MSI Operating Grants)

MSIO support or to request a MAConnect Stakeholder Agreement:
Phone: 780-644-2413
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

Communications questions or to discuss project recognition opportunities:
Phone: 780-427-8862
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

General Grant and Education Property Tax information:
Phone: 780-422-7125
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

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