AUMA has been in regular contact with Municipal Affairs and urged the Ministry to defer deadlines such as those for ICFs and to provide greater flexibility around council meetings, among other items.
We are pleased that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and others in the provincial government have responded to these needs from our members. The Government of Alberta’s March 27 FAQ document identifies that local elected officials will be enabled to continue serving the critical needs of their communities while mitigating risks from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Find updated FAQs as they are posted on Municipal Affairs' Municipal Government Resources page.)
Virtual public engagement
The wellbeing of community leaders is critical to maintaining essential municipal services during the COVID-19 pandemic. AUMA acknowledges that while we are normally supportive of conducting council meetings and related municipal business in public spaces as part of municipalities’ commitment to transparency, allowing for alternative arrangements lessens risk for everyone.
Conducting virtual council and regional service commission meetings, for example, enables local leaders to continue to respond to emerging community needs while doing their part to flatten the curve and abiding by the social distancing protocols set out by our provincial and federal governments’ health authorities.
Please refer to Order in Council (O.C. 99/2020) for more information on these Municipal Government Act meeting procedure regulations.
Postponing deadlines for Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICFs) and Intermunicipal Development Plans (IDP)
AUMA is pleased that the province has extended the deadline for municipalities to finalize Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks until April 1, 2021. Although support for the ICF deadline extension is not unanimous amongst municipalities, it will allow municipalities to focus on shifting priorities and emerging issues from COVID-19.
Statistical return and blanket deadline extensions
AUMA strongly supports the provincial government’s decision to extend the deadline for municipalities to provide the Ministry of Municipal Affairs with their statistical information returns. The deadline will now be October 1, 2020 (rather than June 30).
The province has also extended the deadlines for many requirements in the Municipal Government Act (MGA), and its associated regulations, that must be met by a specific date because of either a prescribed or event-triggered deadline to October 1, 2020. A detailed list of the sections of the MGA to which timeline extensions apply is included in Ministerial Order 022/20.
Follow AUMA for updates
Municipalities share the same ambition as the provincial government for a strong and prosperous Alberta, and we look forward to sharing in brighter times ahead once we have weathered this time of uncertainty. AUMA will continue to provide updates on any government legislation changes that affect municipalities. Follow AUMA’s COVID page, subscribe to our Digest e-newsletter and follow our social media channels for the latest news.
If you have any questions about changes to provincial legislation and what it could mean for your municipality, please contact AUMA’s Advocacy staff.