The Alberta government has introduced the third and final amendments to the Municipal Government Act.
The proposed changes are a result of input from municipalities, community organizations, Indigenous groups, school boards, small businesses, industry and the public last fall.
“These changes will make a real difference for how municipalities collaborate on what is important to families and communities, ” said Municipal Affairs minister Shaye Anderson.”
“I am very proud to be proposing the final touches to this legislation as we approach the finish line for the MGA review.”
Bill 8 will lead to better collaboration between municipalities and First Nations. Cities and towns will be required to inform neighbouring First Nations of plans just as they currently do with adjacent municipalities.
The amendments will also bring in joint-use and planning agreements with school boards, something Mary Martin, head of the Alberta School Boards Association is pleased about.
“We need to work well with all our municipal partners, so the ability to plan school sites and locate school sites where they’re best going to meet the needs of the community is critical for school boards, ” said Martin.
Municipalities will also have more flexibility to introduce parental leave for councillors, but it won’t be mandatory.
“We want to make sure that they’re enabled to do this,” said Anderson. “We know that each municipality is pretty unique in their own nature and that the local elected officials are still autonomous in what they get to do and how the bylaws are made for them.”
Right now, municipal councillors can be disqualified if they miss eight weeks of meetings. Exceptions are dealt with on a case by case basis.
Anderson wants the legislation in place by the time this fall’s municipal elections are held.
The government calls the bill a major milestone for the comprehensive review of the MGA that has included input from more than 7,500 Albertans and more than 150 meetings with groups of stakeholders.