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Fair Deal Report reflects AUMA input

June 26, 2020

AUMA is pleased to see that its advocacy has had an impact and the Government of Alberta is not proceeding at this time with its proposed changes to the administration of agreements that Alberta public agencies and municipalities have with the Government of Canada.

The Fair Deal Panel submitted its report to the Government of Alberta in May 2020. The report included 25 recommendations on a variety of topics that, according to the panel, would contribute to Alberta’s fairer treatment within Canada compared to other provinces and territories.

The recommendations were determined following:

  • in-person town hall engagement sessions held in various municipalities;
  • a public survey;
  • interviews with experts and stakeholders;
  • polling;
  • online submissions; and
  • emails.

In order to ensure more direct engagement with the panel, the AUMA Board met with panel members for an in-depth discussion on January 24, 2020 and then provided a written submission to the panel in early February. The Government of Alberta released a response to the Fair Deal Panel’s report on June 17, 2020, in which they categorized and commented on the recommendations.

Putting referenda on municipal ballots

The Government of Alberta indicated that one of the recommendations for which work is currently underway is: “Use democratic tools such as referenda and citizens’ initiatives to seek Albertans’ guidance on selected Fair Deal Panel proposals and other initiatives.”

At present, referenda are often held in conjunction with municipal elections, which is a matter of significant concern to AUMA members. The government’s response confirmed their intent to hold senate elections in conjunction with municipal elections in 2021, as well as the potential to also pose a referendum question on equalization on the 2021 municipal ballots.

AUMA is working with members to advance the position with the government that local elections should only address local issues. See our article on legislative amendments related to local elections.

Municipal-federal agreements

The Panel recommended that the Government of Alberta “make no changes, at this time, to the administration of agreements that Alberta public agencies and municipalities have with the Government of Canada.” AUMA’s submission stressed the detrimental effects that would result if the province were required to approve all agreements between municipalities and the federal government, so AUMA is pleased to see that its advocacy has had an impact and the Government of Alberta is not proceeding with this proposal at this time.

If you have any questions about the Fair Deal Panel report, please contact AUMA’s advocacy team at advocacy@auma.ca.