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AUMA summer update: progress continues toward major priorities

August 21, 2019

Even during council breaks, work continues for AUMA staff, including President Barry Morishita, who has spent the last several months hard at work visiting many municipalities. The main areas of focus for advocacy this year have been police funding, MSI, recycling, and cannabis. You can find out more about our activities on our AUMA’s top priorities webpage.

Police funding

The previous provincial government initiated a full-scale review and modernization of the Alberta Police Act. As the Alberta Police Act is large, complex, outdated, and in need of a full-scale review, this review process was anticipated to take several years. It is not known at this time whether the review will proceed under the new government. However, AUMA intends to continue to advocate for improved resources for policing services, and particularly the development of a new, more equitable police funding model.

 AUMA has established a working group to develop recommendations for the review, and information about the working group’s mandate and membership is available on AUMA’s website. In March 2019, AUMA sent its first written submission on the Police Act to the Province, which identified key priorities for municipalities; principles for the overall Act; and principles for a new funding model.

The next steps for the working group are to gather information about policing costs being paid by municipalities and develop specific recommendations, including options for new funding models. AUMA members will have ongoing opportunities to provide feedback on the working group’s draft recommendations.

A list of previous articles published by AUMA regarding police funding can be found below:

Cannabis

In February 2019, the Safe and Healthy Communities Committee provided feedback for the federal consultation on the proposed regulations for cannabis edibles, extracts, and topicals. Overall, the regulations proposed by Health Canada seem adequately cautious, and are consistent with AUMA's research on this topic and with the Government of Canada’s stated public health and safety objectives.

The final federal regulations for cannabis edibles, extracts, and topicals were released in June 2019. Although the regulations come into force on October 17, 2019, government officials expect that a limited selection of products will appear in physical or online stores no earlier than mid-December 2019. Licensed cannabis producers will need to provide 60 days’ notice to Health Canada of their intent to sell new products. The department will start accepting new product applications from October 17 of this year.

The legalization of edibles, topicals, and extracts is not anticipated to have significant impacts on municipalities. The new cannabis products will be subject to the same provincial legislative and regulatory framework as the dried plant and oil products currently are, and the new products will also be subject to any municipal bylaws around cannabis consumption (provided the bylaw refers to consumption of “cannabis” or “cannabis products”).

Update on the key messages as provided from the staff at Treasury Board and Finance will be provided to our members as it becomes available.

A list of previous articles published by AUMA regarding cannabis can be found below:

Recycling

Since 2017, AUMA has advocated for the expansion of the existing electronic recycling program. Alberta was the pioneer when it came to electronic recycling over a decade ago. We are now lagging behind other provinces. In May 2019, Minister Jason Nixon stated that he was interested in expanding the current electronic recycling program. Since then, AUMA continues to await the next steps the provincial government takes in expanding electronic recycling.

The AUMA Waste Management Hub provides a template letter that can be sent to Members of the Legislative Assembly and the Minister of Environment encouraging Alberta Environment and Parks to expand the program, making Alberta a leader again in electronic recycling.

To help with our advocacy on EPR and paper packaging, AUMA, Cities of Calgary, and Edmonton and the Canadian Stewardships Services Alliance, representing major industries, are working together on the Alberta Collaborative EPR Study (ACES). The goal is to identify benefits, challenges, and risks of an EPR program in Alberta. This will form the basis of engagement showing the provincial government how recycling can benefit every municipality in Alberta. At the 2019 AUMA Convention, there will be updates, with the final report release occuring in October 2019.

A list of previous articles published by AUMA on recycling can be found below:

Municipal Sustainability Initiative and a new municipal funding framework

Since the April 2019 election, AUMA has met with the Minister of Municipal Affairs to discuss MSI and the future of provincial infrastructure funding for communities. Last week, we provided an update on the province’s steps to provide interim MSI funding in advance of the fall budget. We look forward to the release of Budget 2019 to confirm the funding amounts of MSI and the Basic Municipal Transportation Grant (BMTG) for 2019 and remaining years of the MSI program.

Looking ahead, AUMA is pleased with the results of our election campaign as the United Conservative Party’s election platform includes a commitment to ensure that municipalities receive predictable, long-term infrastructure funding. As the new government has now had time to settle into operations, we look forward to restarting the conversation about the design of a new funding framework for Alberta’s communities. We will continue to share information as this work progresses.