Changes to Viability Review Process

February 10, 2017

In response to AUMA’s advocacy, Municipal Affairs has agreed to modify the viability review process so that it is more timely and efficient. AUMA is particularly pleased that municipalities under review will be required to complete an infrastructure study funded by the province before the viability review committee is commenced. Other changes include combining the viability determination and the development of the viability plan to streamline and integrate the process. The decision on whether to remain as a municipality or to dissolve is also more influenced by an elector vote.

It is expected that the new process will be used for the upcoming viability reviews in Berwyn, Champion, Ferintosh, Grande Cache, and Innisfree.

The key changes are illustrated in the table below.

Key Issue

New
Viability Review Process

Previous
Viability Review Process

  1. High-Level Process (Phases)
  1. Request for viability review
  2. Viability Screening
  3. Initiation and Notifications
  4. Infrastructure Study
  5. Information Collection and Analysis
  6. Viability Plan
  7. Public Comment
  8. Minister’s Decision
  9. Vote of Electors (if applicable)
  10. Implementation and Enforcement
  1. Request for viability review
  2. Viability Screening
  3. Initiation, Notifications and VRT Formed
  4. Information Collection and Analysis
  5. Viability Determination
  6. Viability Plan
  7. Council Vote
  8. Vote of Electors (if applicable)
  9. Minister’s Decision
  10. Implementation and Enforcement
  1. Infrastructure Audit/Study
  • An infrastructure study is initiated by the review municipality as soon as possible following the Minister’s initiation of the viability review.
  • The results of the infrastructure study will inform the development of the Viability Plan.
  • An infrastructure study is initiated by the review municipality as soon as possible following the Minister’s initiation of the viability review.
  • The results of the infrastructure study will inform the VRT in reaching a Viability Determination.
  1. Role of Viability Review Teams (VRT)
  • Guide the viability review process
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Provide updates to member organizations
  • Provide feedback to the Minister
  • Lead the viability review process
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Liaise between the VRT and member organizations
  • Provide advice and recommendations to the Minister
  1. Appointment of VRTs
  • Requests for VRT members will be made by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Municipal Services and Legislation, following the Information Collection and Analysis phase and prior to the completion of the Infrastructure Study.
  • Requests for VRT members are made by the Minister at the beginning of the viability review, as part of the notice of the viability review to the affected parties.
  1. Advisory supports for review or potential receiving municipalities
  • Workbooks are provided to both the review and potential receiving municipalities to solicit responses.
  • Facilitated discussions with each municipality will be mandatory.
  • Additional advisory support will be provided to municipalities including more comprehensive discussions on possibilities under the MGA, assistance with financial analysis/ projections, and sharing of leading practices from other jurisdictions.
  • Workbooks are provided to both the review and potential receiving municipalities to solicit responses.
  • Facilitated discussions with each municipality are held only when mutually agreed to.
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