The amendments passed this spring also addressed a number of emerging issues, including changes related to civic charters, off-site levies, and existing policy for the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

Civic charters

What’s currently in place: There is no authority to create civic charters.

What we heard: In order to ensure cities like Edmonton and Calgary are able to become centres of excellence on the international stage, the legislation applicable to them must recognize their unique statuses and needs. This amendment will allow us to develop these charters. The specific content and details of the charters will come at a later time – following further conversations with cities and Albertans.

What’s changing: Allow for the creation of civic charters, with accountabilities and powers unique to our largest municipalities. Require any new charter or amendments to a charter to be published to the Municipal Affairs website for at least 60 days before it is put into effect, to ensure that Albertans have an additional opportunity to review it. To further enhance transparency, any municipal bylaw under a charter would be required to be advertised and subject to a public hearing.

When this takes effect: While the authority to create civic charters took effect upon Royal Assent of the Municipal Government Amendment Act on March 30, 2015, the consultation and development for charters for Calgary and Edmonton will proceed according to the Framework Agreement signed by the two cities and the Government of Alberta.

More information about the development of civic charters

Administration of off-site levies

What’s currently in place: The MGA allows municipalities to charge an off-site levy for infrastructure costs only once during development.

What we heard: Give the authority to charge fees over time offers improved cash flow management better tied to the actual design and installation of the infrastructure.

What’s changing: Following a recent court challenge involving the City of Edmonton, the proposed change will empower municipalities to charge for each type of infrastructure separately and over time. This amendment will not impact the scope of off-site levies.

When this takes effect: Upon Royal Assent of the Municipal Government Amendment Act on fall 2017.

Regulatory expiries

What’s currently in place: The MGA includes a provision (s. 603) that allows for regulations to be created by Cabinet for any matter that is not sufficiently addressed or provided for in the Act. These regulations, unless renewed, expire two years after adoption, after which the policy is meant to be addressed within the MGA. A number of regulations have been created under this provision, each of which has been renewed a number of times past the intended two-year expiry timeframe.

What we heard: These policies have been in place for many years, as far back as 2003. Finding permanent places in legislation or regulation is important to provide predictability and certainty.

What’s changing: Existing policy, found in the following regulations, will be incorporated into the MGA or through new regulations established under new specific regulation-making authorities:

When this takes effect: Upon proclamation of the Municipal Government Amendment Act.

Next steps

These changes to the MGA take effect when the amendments receive Royal Assent or are proclaimed to become law.

Check the status of Bill 20, Municipal Government Amendment Act

Questions?

Contact us with the details.