Public participation in municipal government

Citizens can participate in the development of their local governments and express their views to locally elected representatives.

Explore pages in:
Municipal government


The Municipal Government Act (MGA) establishes a framework for local government that provides municipal councils with the powers necessary to provide for their community. It is balanced by councils’ accountability to the citizens who elect them.

This page includes information about opportunities for citizens to keep informed about municipal issues and to make their views known to council through either formal or informal means. It is essential that citizens take an active interest in the development and direction of local governments and express their views to their locally elected representatives.

How to participate

Attend council meetings

The MGA prescribes that everyone has a right to be present at council meetings or council committee meetings conducted in public. In certain circumstances protected by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), council may exclude the public for all or part of council or committee meetings.

Contact municipal administration

The municipality’s administrative staff carries out its daily functions under the direction of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). This is generally the first line of communication between residents and others of a municipality. Municipal staff may be helpful in providing information about bylaws, policies and other matters of interest and concern in the municipality.

Contact locally elected councillor(s)

Residents or anyone else may contact councillors to express their views on local issues, bylaws, policies, or any matter relating to the municipality. This may result in further conversation or connections with the appropriate people in administration to appropriately address issues.

Present at a council meeting

Council is required to conduct public hearings regarding land use bylaws, rezoning, etc., or on any other matter council deems appropriate. Members of the public may request to be included on a council meeting agenda and should contact their local administration to obtain information regarding council’s procedures on making presentations at council meetings.

Start a petition

The MGA specifies that the electors of a municipality may petition their locally elected council or the Minister of Municipal Affairs. With the passing of the Recall Act, electors may also initiate a recall petition.

The following documents may be used to identify areas of the MGA relating to municipal councillor recall, relating to petitions to council and to the Minister. The documents provided below are intended to supplement and explain specific sections or applications of the MGA.

Petitions to council: information for Albertans, elected officials and municipal officers - updated September 2019
Information Handout on Petitions intended for the Minister of Municipal Affairs - updated October 2019
Recall of a municipal councillor handbook - updated April 2023

You are urged to obtain an office consolidation of the MGA, including amendments, prior to initiating a petition. Copies can be obtained from the King's Printer bookstore located in Edmonton.

Municipal inspection reports

Inspections ordered by the Minister of Municipal Affairs under the authority of the Municipal Government Act, when completed, are presented to the residents of the municipality at a public meeting. Completed municipal inspection reports can be found on the Municipal Inspection Reports page.


Connect with the Capacity Building Unit at Alberta Municipal Affairs:

Hours: 8:15am to 4:30pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-2225
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]