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The ability to set rules helps Alberta municipalities provide good government, deliver services and develop viable communities.

What is a municipality empowered to do?

Municipal governments have powers and responsibilities under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) to make and implement decisions on a range of matters to best serve their communities.

Some ways the MGA empowers Alberta municipalities to manage their daily operations include:

  • Bylaw-making powers concerning safety, health, land use, enforcement, business, municipal services and finances
  • Natural person powers, which grant municipalities the same rights, powers and privileges as a person
  • Finance and revenue powers so municipalities may collect taxes, user fees and levies  
  • Land use development powers to manage their land in a variety of ways, including building homes, businesses, roads, etc.
  • Quasi-judicial powers on appeal boards that consider assessment and land use planning matters
  • Special municipal powers, including expropriation, establishing hamlets and the provision of municipal services

All municipalities have the same scope of powers, regardless of size.

Enforcing municipal bylaws

The MGA empowers municipalities to create and enforce bylaws to maintain the health, safety and wellness of the community. Municipal bylaws may be enforced in a variety of ways, including fines and the courts. Offenders may be charged for breach of a bylaw. Common bylaws include parking regulations, animal control and noise.

What must a municipality do?

Alberta municipalities exist to serve the residents and businesses that call the community home. The MGA contains specific guidelines for how municipalities operate. However, since no two communities are exactly alike, the MGA is also flexible, empowering municipalities to make decisions based on local needs.

Learn more

While they are empowered to manage their daily operations, municipalities are accountable to their residents and, in some cases, the province.

Want to learn more about the scope of the MGA Review? Check out the MGA Review Workbook.