What is the Municipal Government Act (MGA)?

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is a piece of legislation which helps define how our municipalities develop land, raise funds for services and function overall. Essentially, this is a guide to how Alberta municipalities operate.

The MGA is particularly important to community development, and consists of three topics:

  • Planning and development (how we build and grow). This includes things like the planning of land use, decisions and appeals based on development and environmental preservation.
  • Governance and administration (how local decisions are made). This includes the role of municipal councils, administrations and taxation exemptions.
  • Assessment and taxation (how we pay for the services that are delivered). This includes property assessments, property taxes and levies.

The MGA affects how our urban areas grow, including policies for things like annexation procedures, regional co-operation, how we conserve the environment, or the ability of municipalities to receive revenue from private industry. [Smarter Growth]

Changes are currently being made to the MGA, and the new bill is expected to pass this fall. Updates to the MGA will include giving communities the option of having developers pay some associated costs for things like new policy stations and recreation facilities. Updates will also allow cities to reserve portions of new developments to be allocated to affordable housing. These changes would allow communities to collaborate and work together on cost sharing and services.

“The amendments realize one of our three key goals, which is to modernize legislation to reflect the importance of regionalization,” Lisa Holmes, president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, said. “The mandatory long term inter-municipal funding agreements should enable municipalities to work together to ensure that they all contribute to the costs of infrastructure and services that their respective citizens and businesses use. We look forward to the public consultations so that we can discuss additional ways to ensure municipalities have the required resources to provide core services and can more collaboratively be engaged to work in partnership with the province to build sustainable communities for the future.” [Global News]

You can learn more about the MGA on the Government of Alberta website here.