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Bill 25 confirms province’s commitment to Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks

November 27, 2019

The Government of Alberta recently introduced Bill 25, the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act 2019, which proposes amendments to several acts including the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has developed a chart highlighting MGA changes proposed in Bill 25 which is currently in Second Reading. Most significantly, while the bill streamlines requirements for Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICFs), it also confirms the province’s commitment to ICFs, which must be completed by April 1, 2020.   

What is changing?

Amendments related to ICFs, including:

  • simplifying reporting requirements;
  • authorizing adoption by resolution;
  • focusing content on intermunicipal services only (note: AUMA still recommends that municipalities complete a full inventory of services provided to ensure that no services that benefit residents in other municipalities are missed);
  • limiting scope of arbitration to areas of disagreements and clarify arbitration process;
  • enabling, instead of requiring, members of a Growth Management Board to complete ICFs with one another; and
  • allowing ICFs to be completed without an Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) where there is mutual agreement.

More details on these changes can be found on AUMA’s MGA webpage.

What is not changing?

The deadline for completing rural to urban ICFs remains April 1, 2020. The deadline for rural to rural ICFs remains April 1, 2021, as long as the parties are in agreement with this timeline and the Minister of Municipal Affairs is notified that the extended deadline is being applied.

Where can I find help?

AUMA and RMA partnered to provide an ICF Workbook and downloadable tools to support ICF negotiations and implementation. While updates to the workbook to reflect the amendments included in Bill 25 (once it is passed) will be made, the suggested processes and tips included in the workbook remain valid.

Municipal Affair’s Intermunicipal Relations is available to provide advice and support, including mediation supports, to municipalities who are having challenges initiating or completing ICFs. The Ministry also expects to release guidelines for Alberta Community Partnership grants for intermunicipal collaboration and for mediation processes soon.

If you have any comments on the proposed changes to the MGA, please contact AUMA’s advocacy team at advocacy@auma.ca.