MGA Change Management Resources
With the support of Municipal Affairs, Alberta Municipalities and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) collaborate to provide change management resources to support municipalities in implementing new requirements under the Municipal Government Act (MGA).
New Version of Councillor Code of Conduct Guide Now Available
ABmunis in partnership with RMA has released ABmunis, has released Councillor Codes of Conduct: A Guide for Municipalities (2023 Version). The 2023 version of the guide provides updated information and support for municipalities on how to review and (if needed) update codes of conduct, and how to use codes of conduct to support good governance and decision-making. The guide was developed by Brownlee LLP through funding provided by the Government of Alberta.
Since mandatory codes of conduct were introduced through changes to the Municipal Government Act in 2018, many lessons have been learned about developing codes of conduct, enforcing standards, investigating complaints, and determining sanctions. The 2023 version of the guide includes updated content addressing these areas to support municipalities in refining their code of conduct and associated processes.
Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks
All municipalities that share a common boundary must adopt Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICFs) by April 1, 2021. This deadline was extended from April 1, 2020, to allow municipalities to focus on shifting priorities and emerging issues from COVID-19.
Only municipalities that are part of a Growth Management Board that has a growth plan in place are exempt.
ICF Survey Results
In December 2019, Alberta Municipalities requested survey responses from members on their experiences with the process to develop ICFs. The responses were summarized in the report, 2019 Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework Member Survey - Results.
Bill 25, 2019 – ICF Requirement Changes and Impacts to Process
Bill 25, Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2019, was passed by the Alberta Legislature on December 5, 2019. Alberta Municipalities and RMA provided a resource to their members that outlines the key changes to ICF requirements and how those changes impact your ICFs, depending on what stage your municipality is at in the process.
The Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework Workbook was developed to help municipalities negotiate ICFs with their neighbouring municipalities. It provides tools and information-based resources to inform municipal processes, decision-making, and implementation related to ICFs.
The workbook also includes a number of tools that are available to download as separate Word documents to adapt to your municipality’s needs:
- TOOL A – Individual Municipal Preparation
- TOOL B – Services Inventory Development
- TOOL C – Intermunicipal Preparation
- TOOL D – Sample ICF Terms of Reference
- TOOL E – ICF Services Summary
- TOOL F – Dispute Resolution Processes Suggestions
- TOOL G – IDP Requirements Checklist
- TOOL H – ICF Completion Dispute Resolution Options
Other ICF Resources
Off-Site Levies Manual
In 2019, Alberta Municipalities and RMA engaged Brownlee LLP to develop Off-Site Levies: A Municipality’s Manual for Capital Cost Recovery Due to New Development. This manual provides municipalities with an overview of off-site levies, including changes made to the scope and reporting on off-site levies through amendments to the MGA and the Off-Site Levies Regulation. The manual also provides a step-by-step approach to implementing an off-site levy regime, including financial and reporting requirements.
Public Participation Policies and Public Notification: A Guide for Municipalities
The MGA (2017) also required municipalities to establish a public participation policy by July 23, 2018, which sets out how a municipality will engage with the public. In addition, municipalities are now able to amend their processes for advertising statutory notices by bylaw to suit their communities’ needs, whereas requirements for public notification were previously set out in the MGA.
The Public Participation Policies and Public Notification: A Guide for Municipalities includes a Public Participation Policy Template and a Public Notification Bylaw Template, which you can adapt for your municipality.
Implementation Fact Sheets
In 2018, Municipal Affairs sought input from Alberta Municipalities and RMA on a series of Implementation Fact Sheets for each of the main policy changes in the new Act, which explain what changed in 2017 and what municipalities need to do and when the change needs to be implemented. A legislative checklist that outlines all 2017 changes to the MGA can be found on on the government's website.
Subdivision and Development Appeal Board Training
The Municipal Government Act includes a requirement for Subdivision and Appeal Board (SDAB) members and clerks to undergo mandatory training based on a standard program developed by Municipal Affairs. Initial training delivery was to be completed before April 1, 2019.
Municipal Affairs hosted SDAB training courses in five locations over the summer of 2019, which were vastly oversubscribed. Based on this demand for training, Alberta Municipalities and RMA pooled grant funding received from Municipal Affairs for MGA change management projects to offer courses in an additional eleven locations. Many of these courses were offered in partnership with local municipalities, who applied to co-host sessions through an open application process.
Alberta Municipalities also raised the need for further assistance to meet the new MGA requirements for SDAB training with Municipal Affairs. In response, Municipal Affairs held training webinars on January 24, 29 and 31, 2019.
In addition, private law firms are also offering fee for service training options for municipalities. Brownlee LLP hosts SDAB workshops in Calgary and Edmonton, Additionally, some municipalities have contracted dyoung [at] rmrf.com (Reynolds Mirth, Richards and Farmer) to deliver training sessions directly.
Some municipalities may want to consider forming a regional SDAB, as municipalities with low development rates may not require a stand-alone SDAB. A regional SDAB may also improve efficiency.
Alberta Ombudsman and Municipalities
As of April 1, 2018, the Alberta Ombudsman’s jurisdiction expanded to include municipalities. The office may now act on complaints about municipalities and, if warranted, initiate investigations into municipal decisions and decision-making processes.
Alberta Municipalities and the Office of the Ombudsman developed articles to provide municipalities information on how the Ombudsman’s new role affects you and how your municipality can enhance decision-making processes to better respond to and avoid future complaints.
- What do municipalities need to know about the Alberta Ombudsman?
- What if the Ombudsman calls?
- Ombudsman Investigations
- The Benefits of an Impartial Third Party for all municipalities involved.
Blanket Exercise Initiative
The Blanket Exercise Initiative is a partnership between Alberta Municipalities and RMA to provide municipal governments an opportunity to increase their understanding of Indigenous history in Canada. Alberta Municipalities and RMA sought applications from municipalities interested in hosting an educational session known as a ‘Blanket Exercise’ in their community. With support from Alberta Municipal Affairs, the Blanket Exercise Initiative is one of many collaborative partnerships by Alberta Municipalities and RMA to support municipalities to effectively meet the new requirements of the revised Municipal Government Act. The revised MGA includes several changes that encourage more communication and collaboration between municipal governments and Indigenous communities. The Blanket Exercise Initiative can support this process by furthering municipal understanding of Indigenous culture and history including the impact of residential schools and historical relations between Indigenous peoples and the Crown.
The deadline for the first round of funding has closed. Alberta Municipalities and RMA worked with successful applicants to host blanket exercises in municipalities across Alberta. Future opportunities will be announced in Alberta Municipalities' weekly e-newsletter. For questions, please contact wic [at] abmunis.ca (wic[at]abmunis[dot]ca).