Municipalities have been allocated $9.8 billion 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
2019 funding information
In 2019, MSI will provide $597 million in funding under interim supply, with final amounts confirmed in Budget 2019:
- $567 million capital funding, which includes $307 million from the former Basic Municipal Transportation Grant (BMTG) program
- $30 million operating funding
In March 2018, a supplementary estimate provided $800 million of re-profiled funding. The re-profiling of $400 million from each of 2018-19 and 2019-20 as grants to 2017-18 provided greater flexibility in meeting capital plans.
The interim 2019 funding, combined with the earlier access to funding ensures municipalities are able to fund the infrastructure and services Albertans use every day, now and into the future.
Guidelines for the 2019 MSI capital and operating programs are expected to be available in September in the Program resources section.
The MSI Operating program has been streamlined for 2019. Municipalities will no longer need to submit spending plans to receive payment of the operating allocations, instead they will only need to report on how they used the funding. More information will be provided in the guidelines.
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 follows the terms and conditions outlined in the MSI capital and operating guidelines.
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. This includes base funding for all municipalities and sustainable investment funding for municipalities with limited local assessment bases.
Funding and individual allocations also need legislative and ministerial approval as noted in program guidelines.
BMTG funding 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
Unspent operating funds may be carried into the next calendar year if a municipality is unable to complete a project but 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.
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.
A detailed list of eligible project activities is available in the MSI capital and/or operating guidelines located in the Program resources section.
Eligible capital projects include municipal:
- 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
Eligible operating projects include:
- capacity building activities that improve efficiency or effectiveness
- municipal services
- planning activities
- assistance to non-profit organizations
MSI capital and operating guidelines
- MSI Capital Application Guide – Question 4: Functional Project Category (PDF, 159 KB)
- MSI Capital Application Guide – Question 5: Resulting Capital Asset (PDF, 147 KB)
Statement of Funding and Expenditures (SFEs) for the 2018 program year were due by May 1, 2019.
Municipalities can submit their 2018 SFEs for capital and operating through the Municipal Sustainability 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.
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
- MSIO Capital Application User Guide (PDF, 2.7 MB)
- MSIO Operating User Guide (PDF, 200 KB)
- MSIO Capital SFE User Guide (PDF, 564 KB)
- MSIO Operating SFE User Guide (PDF, 316 KB)
Accepted projects by municipality
- MSI – Capital: Accepted Projects Report
- MSI – Operating: Report on Government-wide Objectives for Municipal Grant Funding
Allocation amounts by municipality
- The document labelled 2019 includes allocation amounts for the 2019 Interim Supply funding.
Future of MSI
MSI will come to an end in 2021-22, and the government continues to discuss the future of municipal infrastructure funding with our municipal partners.
The City Charters Fiscal Framework Act was passed in late 2018. This act replaces MSI funding for Calgary and Edmonton starting in 2022-23 after MSI is complete in 2021-22.
Under this act, Calgary and Edmonton will share $500 million in 2022-23, and this amount will change in subsequent years based on changes in provincial revenues and fuel sales. The act also includes a long-term transit investment plan for the 2 cities.
Stable and predictable infrastructure funding is just as important for other municipalities and the government will share information on the ongoing work to develop an MSI replacement as soon as it becomes available. The government is committed to ensuring predictable, long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities and is in the process of confirming its approach to this commitment.
Final decisions on the total amount of MSI for this year and funding targets for future years will be made as part of the fall budget.
To connect with the MSI program:
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (MSI Capital Grants) or
email@example.com (MSI Operating Grants)