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Regulatory Changes

While the Municipal Government Act (MGA) sets out overarching powers and responsibilities for municipalities, regulations provide details as to how the Act will be implemented in practice. The MGA review process involved the review and creation of a number of regulations. AUMA prioritized these regulations for municipal impact and provided detailed input on key changes. This process involved extensive opportunities for member input, including engagement through a CAO working group, AUMA committees, and direct emails to members soliciting comments. Links to all reviewed regulations are available on the Municipal Affairs Regulations Review website.

Ongoing Regulatory Review

As discussed in the section on Current Issues, the Matters Related to Assessment and Taxation (MRAT) Regulation will  be amended in 2020 so that  municipalities can assess and tax cannabis grow operations at fair market value to cover the costs of delivering municipal services to these industrial scale developments.

The Community Organization Property Tax Exemption Regulation (COPTER) sets out the conditions and qualifications for property tax exemptions provided to non-profit organizations that carry out a charitable or benevolent purpose for the benefit of the general public.

In July 2017, Municipal Affairs released proposed changes that would reorganize the regulation and alter many definitions with the intent of improving clarity.  However, AUMA and the Alberta Assessors Association raised significant concerns with the proposed changes including ambiguity in definitions and the classification of various organizations, which would have resulted in significant challenges in implementing the new regulation.

In response, the province agreed to delay implementation and carry out further engagement with assessors, municipal associations, and the Cities of Edmonton and Calgary to seek solutions.  AUMA participated in this process with the assistance of Brennen Tipton, Manager of Residential Assessment from Strathcona County.  In August 2018, Municipal Affairs sent a notice to Chief Administrative Officers and Designated Assessors announcing that changes COPTER will take effect no earlier than the 2020 property tax year. Given the complexity and technical nature of the regulation, delay in the implementation is welcome and AUMA looks forward to continued discussions on solutions.  More details on the province’s proposed changes to COPTER can be found on the Regulations Review website.

Inclusionary Housing is the term the Government of Alberta is using for new provisions in the MGA to give municipalities the ability to require new developments to include affordable housing units. The province is currently in the process of developing a regulation for Inclusionary Housing. While AUMA has had some high-level conversations with Municipal Affairs regarding this regulation, no information has been released for public review.

October 2017 Regulations

In October 2017, Municipal Affairs released a number of finalized regulations alongside the proclamation of legislative amendments to the MGA. AUMA developed an analysis of the finalized regulations based on input from committees. While some of the finalized regulations reflect AUMA input, there are several outstanding issues. High-priority issues involve improving methods of enumerating shadow populations and ensuring that new requirements to refer subdivision applications to Alberta Transportation do not result in undue delays in approvals.

AUMA Analysis of October 2017 Regulations

July 2017 Regulations

In July 2017, 15 proposed regulations were released, including 12 that were prioritized for review by AUMA due to their importance to municipalities across the province. In order to develop a response, AUMA carried out an extensive multi-stage member engagement process including:

  • Open comments from members;
  • An administrative working group composed of Chief Administrative Officers and senior municipal administrators;
  • Review by the AUMA Elected Officials Professional Development, Sustainability and Environment, and Municipal Governance Standing Committees; and
  • Review by the AUMA Board

AUMA Response to July 2017 MGA Regulations

Previous AUMA Submissions on Regulatory Issues