COVID-19 Updates: State of public health emergency declared.
Minor changes to the Municipal Sustainability Initiative have occurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak – see the operating projects section below for more information.
Check this page for future updates, as the direction of this initiative may change without warning.
For more information visit COVID-19 info for Albertans.
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.
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.
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 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 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
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
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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