NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association urge the provincial government to provide an exemption from the requirement for submission of FIR for public bodies established by provincial statute, whose total annual operating budget is less than $50,000 which are not in the process of delivering services, conducting engineering, or construction activities, for the provision of services, whose only source of funding is provincial grant funding.
WHEREAS Sections 277 and 278 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) require clauses that each municipality annually prepare the Financial Information Return (FIR) and send it, together with an auditor’s report, to the Minister by May 1 of the following year;
WHEREAS Section 276 of the MGA requires that each municipality prepare annual financial statements of the municipality in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles for municipal governments recommended by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants;
WHEREAS it is established in the Alberta Municipal Affairs Conditional Grant Agreement itself that the Government of Alberta Municipal Affairs has the right to conduct an evaluation or audit of the Project at any time; and
WHEREAS the creation of FIR is an onerous and significant undertaking that can expend a substantial portion of the grant funding received by these agencies in their initial phases.
Many commissions in the initial phases, where the only sources of funding is provincial grant funds, are not in the process of delivering services, or conducting engineering or construction activities for the provision of services. These commissions must provide the required grant reporting documentation, and are subject to audits at any time. Submission of a complete FIR, together with an auditor's report, is also required under the Municipal Government Act. The financial impact on commissions in the initial formation phase can sum up to 20 per cent of the funds for audit fees, leaving fewer funds towards the projects actual intention.
July 2015 - Ministry will consider adding an exemption to the current requirements in specific circumstances where there are no significant transactions for a new or inactive commission. This will be taken forward for consideration as part of the review of the MGA.
AUMA considers this response.