Future of Local Governance

Resolution Category Policy Paper 1
Subject Governance
Year 2009
Status Adopted - Active
Active Clauses

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the AUMA 2009 General Assembly adopt the 2009 Policy Paper on the future of Local Governance, with proposed amendments from the 2009 Convention, thereby initiating action on all recommendations to municipalities, AUMA and the Government of Alberta.

Click to view the Policy Paper

Whereas Clauses

WHEREAS Alberta municipalities strive for sustainability in all dimensions, including that of providing good governance for Albertans;

WHEREAS AUMA was directed to investigate the future of local governance in Alberta as a major initiative in 2009;

WHEREAS a Task Force on the future of local governance was struck with a mandate to:
• review the current state of local governance (legislative, program, policy, financial and restructuring), and current issues affecting local governance;
• develop clear options related to effective local governance, including an assessment of the effectiveness of the proposed options for change;
• consider the risks and benefits of proposed options for change and the incentives required to make changes; and
• review examples outside of Alberta where local governance has been restructured and why it worked or did not work;

WHEREAS feedback provided during the FOLG initiative shows a strong need for assisting municipal governments to become stronger and more sustainable; and

WHEREAS AUMA believes that sustainable municipal governance, at its highest level means:
...providing and delivering infrastructure and services to citizens in an Effective, and Efficient manner, while all the time recognizing the paramount position of local citizens, and while engaging them. Sustainability is dependent on the community’s Confidence in its local government to accomplish its goals and the community’s Support for accomplishing those goals.
... adhering to a consistent, strong and transparent Accountability System for all Municipal Governments, which is easily understood, trusted by citizens and recognized by the provincial government. Accountability System components include long-term plans, policies, performance measures and annual Sustainability Reports.
… developing strong inter-governmental coordination and cooperation (including partnerships with other local governments and other orders of government) that enable responsiveness to citizen needs when those needs cannot be fulfilled by one government alone. Coordinating and cooperating with other governments depends, in part, upon the community’s Resources or Adequate Access to Resources (population, local economy, property tax assessment base).

Government Response

Jun 25, 2010 - Municipal Affairs

With regard to Provincial/Municipal relationships:

The Minister of Municipal Affairs has been given the mandate to promote sustainability by strengthening regional co-operation, municipal viability, and community accountability, and is developing a Municipal Sustainability Strategy in collaboration with the AUMA and other municipal associations.

The Municipal Sustainability Strategy Working Group has frequently referred to perspectives from the AUMA’s Policy Paper on the Future of Local Governance in addressing the four key questions which will be the focus of the strategy:

  • What basic services should a municipality provide?
  • What constitutes a viable and sustainable municipality and how can these be measured?
  • What capacity building tools are required?
  • What restructuring processes should be used?

The Government of Alberta appreciates the imitative of the AUMA in preparing this policy paper and their participation in the Municipal Sustainability strategy Working Group.

The Municipal Sustainability Strategy Working Group, which the AUMA participates on, is currently working on a Self-Assessment Toolkit to help municipalities identify areas of strength, as well as where and how they might improve.

The Premier advised the AUMA in February 2009 that the government is committed to enhancing provincial/municipal partnerships, but stated that a formal Provincial/Municipal Sustainability Partnership Agreement is not necessary. 

The Government has moved forward on a number of initiatives that support municipal sustainability and have the potential to achieve the objectives of both Municipal Affairs and the AUMA. These initiatives include: the Municipal Sustainability Initiative: The Regional Collaboration Program; and the development of a Municipal Sustainability Strategy, which is proceeding with the direct involvement of the AUMA.

With regard to municipal legislation:

The Minister of Municipal Affairs appreciates the effort of the AUMA in preparing this policy paper. These proposals will be given consideration during an upcoming review of the Municipal Government Act.

In the meantime, the ministry would welcome further input from the AUMA regarding any specific clauses within the Act that the AUMA believes require amendment.

Alberta Municipalities notes

AUMA does not accept this response and will continue to advocate for the changes to legislation and other recommendations within the policy paper.