Last week, the province passed Bill 8, An Act to Strengthen Municipal Government. This Act is the third set of amendments to the MGA and is based on the November 2016 discussion guide entitled “Continuing the Conversation”. See AUMA’s analysis of the Bill here.
We are pleased that the province heard and acted upon many of our ideas, making these provisions more workable for municipalities. This includes correcting the timeframe for municipal development plans, outlining the scope of communication to Indigenous communities on land use planning, clarifying that the school boards’ exemption from levies only relates to schools, and simplifying the receipt process for property taxes.
While Bill 8 addresses some of the shortcomings of the MGA and enables greater regional collaboration, AUMA was concerned by the province indicating that these amendments are the finishing touches, since there are a significant number of outstanding issues that still need to be addressed. We have since followed up with the Minister in a formal submission, requesting that they address issues previously identified by AUMA such as: providing predictable, long-term funding for municipalities, additional municipal taxation powers, provincial consultation with municipalities, protection through joint and several liability, an independent oversight for the code of conduct, clear parameters for the provincial Ombudsman, and additional brownfield redevelopment tools.
In the coming months, draft regulations will be released and posted for 60 days of public feedback. AUMA will be providing information when the draft regulations are released and will seek member feedback through our website.