Bill 20: Municipal Government Amendment Act
The first major set of legislative amendments to the MGA came through Bill 20: the Municipal Government Amendment Act, which was introduced in February and March 2015. When the legislation was introduced, AUMA immediately prepared and released a comprehensive analysis of changes including potential impacts on municipalities. Input gained from members following Bill 20 led to AUMA’s next submission setting out key outcomes for future changes to the Act.
Bill 20 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;
- Requirements for Subdivision and Development Appeals Board training.
Bill 21: Modernized Municipal Government Act
The second major set of legislative amendments to the MGA came through Bill 21: the Modernized Municipal Government Act in July 2016. To assist members in reviewing the changes, AUMA developed a comprehensive analysis document including municipal impacts and key messages. AUMA also provided municipalities with a Questions and Answers document on the changes. Following this, AUMA carried out extensive member engagement leading to a What We Heard Report that informed a Comprehensive Submission on MGA Changes. AUMA also partnered with RMA (formerly AAMDC) 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
- Increased options for off-site levies.
Bill 8: An Act to Strengthen Municipal Government
The third and final major set of amendments to the MGA came through Bill 8: An Act to Strengthen Municipal Government in spring 2017. Following the introduction of Bill 8, AUMA developed a detailed analysis of proposed changes including potential impacts and outstanding issues. Based on this analysis and AUMA member input, AUMA 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;
- Addition of provincial highway connectors as a possible area for off-site levies.
Municipal Affairs has more details on Bill 8 changes available on its website.