IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) advocate for the Government of Alberta to engage municipalities in establishing and implementing a consultation and communication protocol, which recognizes and acknowledges the legislated significance of municipal elected officials.
WHEREAS municipalities have a responsibility for the provision of good government, the provision of services, facilities, or other things that in the opinion of council, are necessary or desirable for the municipality and to develop and maintain safe and viable communities as per the Municipal Government Act RSA 2000 c. M-26;
WHEREAS the municipal/provincial relationship is vital to ensure that such good government and services can effectively be provided;
WHEREAS the challenges of effective consultation and communication between municipal and provincial government are evident and are impeding municipal government from effectively fulfilling its duties and calls into question the province’s commitment to working with municipal elected officials to their fullest capabilities;
WHEREAS a municipality is a creature of the province with a limited amount of natural person powers given to it by the Municipal Government Act; and
WHEREAS the province is required by that same legislation to provide municipalities with clear and concise direction which would require direct interaction.
Alberta municipal elected officials are concerned and challenged with the absence of direct communication and difficulty utilizing or having access to limited channels to arrange meetings with provincial elected officials.
For example, provincial elected officials visiting municipalities or regions are not consistently informing municipalities of the visit. When the municipality learns about the visit after the provincial elected official has arrived, local elected officials lose the opportunity to share information and develop relationships with the provincial elected official. In late 2017, Alberta Health Minister Hoffman visited Falher and we did not learn of the visit until it had concluded and Minister had left the region.
In addition, there is a need for the province to be more responsive to municipal questions and concerns. For example, The Town Faller sent a letter to a Minister in August of 2016 and did not receive a response until June 2017. Given the pace of change the province is experiencing, more timely communications between governments is necessary.
Due to the difficulties encountered to schedule appointments or converse with provincial elected officials, municipalities are not sufficiently consulted on various issues that directly affect the residents of Alberta under the direct care of locally elected officials.
The Rural Municipalities of Alberta adopted a similar resolution during their fall 2017 convention.
Response received from Alberta Municipal Affairs, January 17, 2019:
The Government of Alberta recognizes municipalities as key partners in serving Albertans and strives to work closely and collaboratively with municipal governments wherever possible. This has been exemplified by the collaborative co-development of city charters with the cities of Edmonton and Calgary, as well as the multi-year review of the Municipal Government Act (MGA), during which both the RMA and the AUMA were directly at the table as members of the MGA Review Steering Committee, as well as being directly engaged in each working group and focus group throughout the entire process.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs (MA) is the lead minister in working with municipalities and their associations. Other ministers remain open to meeting with municipal representatives on ministry-specific issues wherever possible, recognizing that these ministers also have significant numbers of other stakeholders to focus on as well. Municipalities are encouraged to approach individual ministers whenever an issue-specific meeting is required. Where this approach is not effective for some reason, municipal officials may contact the Minister of MA for help in facilitating such meetings where possible.
- AUMA consistently advocates that municipalities should be treated as partners by the provincial and federal governments and should be proactively engaged in legislation, policies and programs that impact us. We are highlighting the need for improved communication and consultation as part of AUMA's campaign materials leading up to the provincial election.