Bill 18: What municipalities need to know

Alberta Municipalities has reviewed Bill 18, The Provincial Priorities Act. Further to our April 11 statement, we wanted to share the following information with our members.

About Bill 18

Bill 18, which was tabled in the Legislature on April 10, 2024, will require municipalities, post-secondary institutions, and other provincial entities to obtain provincial approval to enter into a funding agreement with the federal government. The bill will not come into effect until 2025 and will only apply to agreements signed, amended, extended, or renewed after it has come into force. In the meantime, municipalities can continue to apply for funding and enter into agreements with the federal government.

In consulting with other municipal associations, it is our collective understanding that Bill 18 will not apply to federal funding administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), or federal grant programs that flow to the provincial government or include them as a co-funder. We are following up to confirm this assessment.

Alberta Municipalities advocacy

As we advocate to the Government of Alberta on this legislation, we will seek to be included in the development of regulations that Bill 18 indicates will set out the criteria and requirements for agreements the provincial government will approve. We are also looking to have meaningful conversations on municipal priorities when it comes to the province stepping between the federal government and municipalities. We will also be looking at similar legislation that already exists in Quebec for any lessons learned that should be avoided so that essential services municipalities provided to Albertans don’t get wrapped up in red tape and delayed.

Overall, we have many questions and concerns about this legislation. For example:

  • Alberta Municipalities agrees that our communities deserve a share of federal funding, but we wonder how Bill 18 will result in more federal dollars flowing into Alberta to the benefit of Albertans?
  • Knowing one size does not fit all, we wonder how Bill 18 will ensure the unique local needs of Alberta’s diverse communities are respected?

Alberta Municipalities and municipalities across Canada are concerned about the conditions the federal government is proposing to add to the Canada Community Building Fund, previously known as the Gas Tax Fund. The provincial government, by focusing its efforts on legislation such as Bill 18, is missing an opportunity to partner with us to advocate for the federal government to increase and improve its funding for the benefit of Albertans.

Alberta Municipalities has been working with FCM and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta to share information and align our advocacy on this issue. Our Policy & Advocacy team will continue to update members on Bill 18 as we learn more. Please send us an advocacy [at] (email) if you have any concerns. Updates will be issued through The Weekly and direct communications with members as appropriate.