Increasing the supply of housing in all communities across the province is a top priority for Alberta’s government. Municipalities need a wide range of policy options to address housing affordability. If passed, the Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 20) will amend the Municipal Government Act (MGA) to support the construction of affordable and attainable housing.

“The need for affordable housing has never been greater and it is up to all levels of government to do what we can to meet this urgent demand. The changes we’ve made, and that we plan to make, are steps in the right direction toward improving housing availability for all Albertans.”

Ric McIver, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“Part of the Alberta advantage is the dream of homeownership, and our government has been steadfast in our mission to make sure that dream remains achievable. These changes are a key step towards meeting our housing goals. Through them, we will remove barriers and incentivize building both affordable and attainable homes across the province.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services

Municipal Government Act Updates

As part of Alberta’s efforts to create more affordable housing options for Albertans, proposed amendments to the MGA through Bill 20 would fully exempt non-profit subsidized affordable housing from municipal and education property taxes. The changes to the MGA will also enable municipalities to offer multi-year residential property tax exemptions to encourage more housing development.

Residents should always be given the ability to participate in public hearings in matters that affect their communities and neighbourhoods. That is why digital options for public hearings and development will now be required, so residents can easily participate in decisions impacting their communities. When it comes to decisions around housing development, municipalities are encouraged to make decisions in a timely manner. Extra public hearings that are not required by legislation will be restricted. It’s important for local residents to have their voices heard on development plans, but it’s also important for local councils to make decisions without undue delay to housing construction.

The Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) program is already being used by communities to help neighbourhoods reach their development potential. Expanding the criteria for the CRL Program will help to spur additional housing development. If the legislation passes, municipalities will be able to support the capital costs of privately-owned affordable or attainable housing, such as office-to-residential conversions, as long as the development is appropriate for the area and will lead to more homes.

“Mid-sized cities are among Alberta’s fastest-growing communities. Addressing the challenge of building more affordable homes for Albertans is one of our biggest priorities, and we welcome efforts to increase the housing supply. We look forward to working with the province to ensure that all municipalities, regardless of their size, are included in the development and rollout of these housing policies in a manner that works for our communities.”

Jeff Genung, Chair, Alberta Mid-sized Cities Mayors’ Caucus and Mayor of Cochrane

“Civida very much welcomes the changes to the Municipal Government Act that will reduce the property tax burden on affordable housing providers across the province. We look forward to reinvesting all of these significant savings directly back into the provision, care, and maintenance of safe, affordable homes for the more than 15,000 people Civida houses every day."

Gord Johnston, CEO, Civida

City charter Updates

City charters are meant to help address the unique needs of Alberta’s two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton. In recent months Alberta’s government presented the two big cities with proposed updates to the charters to limit the potential for barriers to affordable housing projects. These updates to the city charters will help keep costs down in Calgary and Edmonton, the province’s two fastest growing cities. The updates to city charters include:

  • removing inclusionary housing provisions that have not been used by either city and could cause housing supply to decrease while potentially increasing costs of new homes;
  • removing bylaw-making authority for cities to require energy efficiency standards that are more stringent than Alberta’s building code, as this could drive up construction costs; and
  • clarifying the rules for off-site levies to ensure transparency and accountability.

“Changes to city charters restore critical levels of transparency and accountability to the governing rules and municipal authorities that affect housing in this province’s two largest markets. These changes support housing affordability and provide industry with certainty and predictability provincewide to build attainable housing for all Albertans as our province continues to grow at a record-breaking pace."

Saheb Dullet, director of government relations, BILD Alberta Association

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