Municipal-federal agreements make headlines

Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver’s request for information on 2022 municipal-federal agreements, sent as an emailed letter to municipalities across Alberta, was released publicly by the Town of Innisfail on December 18, 2023.

Innisfail town council notably passed a motion to not provide this information.

The Innisfail Province published a story on the town council’s response to Minister McIver’s direction on January 1. A more detailed story that included our association’s perspective ran in The St. Albert Gazette on January 12.

The following official statement from ABmunis has been shared with journalists in response to media requests on this topic that have been received since January 11:

Alberta Municipalities (ABmunis) is aware of the email sent by Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver to all municipalities in mid-December 2023 requesting an overview of the agreements they held with the federal government in 2022.

Some of ABmunis’ 260 member communities have expressed concerns about this request. Specifically, they have questions about the provincial government’s goal, the scope and timing of this request, the amount of effort needed to provide a thorough response by January 31, and whether they should include information about funding arrangements that may exist between the Government of Canada and third parties that work closely with municipalities.

Our members look forward to the provincial government clarifying what it hopes to accomplish through this unusual request for information.

President Tyler Gandam has conducted several interviews on the topic this week. He knows from first-hand experience how busy municipal staff are in January, as they finish working on annual budgets and continue delivering the essential services and vital programs that residents count on, day in and day out, in their communities.

“It’s an unexpected and potentially costly short-notice task for our officials to complete by January 31, and it’s one that doesn’t appear to benefit Albertans in any way,” said President Gandam. “It’s ironic to think that municipalities have been asked to compile and then share this information with a provincial government that prides itself on reducing red tape and striving for greater efficiency.”

Alberta Municipalities will continue to monitor this request and seek clarity on its intent.