Bill 48, 2020: Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act (No. 2)
The second set of red tape reduction changes to the MGA are outlined in Bill 48 which was introduced in the Legislature on November 16, 2020. The amendments are focused on Parts 17 and 17.1 of the Act and address:
- General streamlining of planning and development provisions;
- Timelines for development;
- Appeals for matters approved by the province;
- Municipal Reserves;
- Off-site levies; and
- Growth Management Boards.
Alberta Municipalities provided a written submission to Municipal Affairs on the proposed changes to the MGA following participation in confidential stakeholder engagement sessions held in August 2020. The impacts of the proposed amendments were further analyzed after the release of Bill 48.
See Alberta Municipalities' Summary of Impacts on Municipalities for Bill 48.
Bill 25, 2019: Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act
The first set of red tape reduction changes to the MGA have been outlined in Bill 25 which was introduced in the Legislature on November 18, 2019. They are intended to come into force on January 1, 2020. The amendments fall into four general categories:
1. Amendments related to Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICFs):
- simplify reporting requirements;
- authorize adoption by resolution;
- focus content on intermunicipal services only;
- limit scope of arbitration and clarify arbitration process; and
- allow ICFs to be completed without an Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) where there is mutual agreement.
2. Amendments that streamline for clarification include:
- four amendments related to assessment processes and Assessment Review Board (ARB) authority;
- revision showing that further changes made to City Charters as a result of public input received during a required posting period (when changes to City Charters are being made) do not trigger an additional posting period;
- reductions in administrative procedures for council meeting minutes; and
- an increase in the by-election timeline from 90 to 120 days.
3. Amendments that streamline to reduce requirements include:
- Authorizing councils to make supplementary assessment and tax, and sub-class and business assessment and tax, bylaws continuous until repealed by council or amended;
- Providing councils with broader authority to delegate powers, duties or functions unless an enactment or bylaw provides otherwise; and
- Removing requirement for a Ministerial Order to issue revised notice when a change is made to correct an error in a tax rate bylaw.
4. Amendments related to Joint Use and Planning Agreements update the legislation references in An Act to Strengthen Municipal Government and the City Charter Regulations to refer to the new Education Act. The coming into force date for these particular amendments needs to be proclaimed.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs has sent out a letter to all municipalities announcing these changes to the MGA. A summary publication describing the changes to the MGA in more depth, and answers to some anticipated questions, were provide with the letter.
Municipal Affairs also provided Alberta Municipalities with a chart summarizing all changes to the MGA set out in Bill 25 that affect municipalities. Click here to view this summary.
More details on Bill 25, 2019 in its entirety are available on the Government of Alberta’s website.
Bill 8, 2017: An Act to Strengthen Municipal Government
The third and final major set of amendments coming out of the 2010 - 2017 review of the MGA came through Bill 8: An Act to Strengthen Municipal Government. Following the introduction of Bill 8, Alberta Municipalities developed a detailed analysis of proposed changes including potential impacts and outstanding issues. Based on this analysis and Alberta Municipalities' member input, Alberta Municipalities also issued a press release urging further steps to ensure municipal success. This press release was followed up by a formal letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs urging action on a number of outstanding issues.
Bill 8 changes included:
- Efforts to improve relations with Indigenous communities through mandatory notification regarding MDPs and ASPs as well as voluntary inclusion in ICFs;
- Clarified Ministerial tools to enforce Ministerial Orders resulting from the inspection of a municipality;
- New ability for municipalities to develop parental leave policies;
- Addition of “include consideration of environmental well-being” as a core purpose for municipalities;
- Additional notification requirements for annexations and amalgamations;
- Mandatory Joint Use and Planning Agreements between municipalities and school boards; and
- Addition of provincial highway connectors as a possible area for off-site levies.
Bill 21, 2016: Modernized Municipal Government Act
Another major set of legislative amendments to the MGA came through Bill 21, Modernized Municipal Government Act in July 2016. To assist members in reviewing the changes, Alberta Municipalities developed a comprehensive analysis document including municipal impacts and key messages. Alberta Municipalities also provided municipalities with a Questions and Answers document on the changes. Following this, Alberta Municipalities carried out extensive member engagement leading to a What We Heard Report that informed a Comprehensive Submission on MGA Changes. Alberta Municipalities also partnered with RMA to present a unified municipal voice on a number of common issues through a Joint Submission, and with both RMA and the Alberta Assessors’ Association to stress the need to delay assessment and taxation changes until the subsequent taxation year.
Bill 21 changes included:
- A new preamble setting out the provincial-municipal relationship;
- Increased oversight through a provincial ombudsman;
- Flexibility to create municipally controlled corporations without Ministerial approval;
- Mandatory training offerings for elected officials;
- Mandatory growth management boards in Edmonton and Calgary regions;
- Increased intermunicipal collaboration through mandatory Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks;
- New affordable housing tools through inclusionary housing bylaws;
- Mandatory Municipal Development Plans for all municipalities;
- New taxation tools to incent brownfield redevelopment;
- Assessment and taxation changes including non-residential property subclasses, the centralization of industrial assessment practice, and the phase-out of farm building taxation; and
- Increased options for off-site levies.
Bill 20, 2015: Municipal Government Amendment Act
The first major set of legislative amendments to the MGA resulting from the 2010-2017 review came through Bill 20, Municipal Government Amendment Act, which was introduced in February and March 2015. When the legislation was introduced, Alberta Municipalities immediately prepared and released a comprehensive analysis of changes including potential impacts on municipalities. Input gained from members following Bill 20 led to Alberta Municipalities' next submission setting out key outcomes for future changes to the Act.
Bill 20, 2015 changes included:
- Mandatory codes of conduct for elected officials, public participation policies, and public notification requirements;
- More clearly delineated roles and responsibilities for council and administration;
- Mandatory three-year operating and five-year capital plans;
- Increased flexibility for amalgamations, including non-contiguous amalgamations around a common body of water;
- A new hierarchy of statutory plans; and
- Requirements for Subdivision and Development Appeals Board training.