The City of Calgary and The City of Edmonton are working with the Government of Alberta to develop City Charters.
A City Charter is a legislative tool that gives cities greater flexibility and authority. A City Charter is intended to cover a range of issues from simple administrative efficiencies to complex regulatory changes.
Having Calgary-specific legislation in the form of a City Charter will better enable us to make local decisions and policies to address the large-scale challenges we face.
Specifically, we are looking to improve in areas including:
- Administrative efficiency
- Community well-being
- Community planning
- Environmental stewardship
- Collaboration (provincial and municipal)
The Province of Alberta continues to evolve and has undergone significant economic and demographic changes in the past few decades. Its two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, are experiencing rapid population change, and citizen expectations have evolved. Now, more than ever, citizens look to their governments to be efficient and responsive to their needs and to support their social well-being, contribute to their economic prosperity and help protect their environment. Developing City Charters is one way we will modernize our governance and act on these citizen expectations.
City Charters are special legislative agreements that will redefine the relationship governing our two big cities. The Municipal Government Act (MGA) will continue to guide the majority of what Calgary and Edmonton do from day to day, but as the governing legislation for all of Alberta’s municipalities it is a one-size-fits-all approach. City Charters will focus on some key policy areas amended to address the cities’ specific needs, aligning funding with responsibilities, and providing the flexibility needed to ensure Alberta’s two largest cities remain accountable to citizens and respond effectively to future challenges and opportunities.
The Government of Alberta, The City of Calgary and the City of Edmonton are working together in partnership and carefully considering the shared interests of all three parties. The City Charters are intended to address the evolving needs, responsibilities and capabilities of the two big cities in a way that best meets the unique needs of their communities. The collaborative process of developing these Charters for Calgary and Edmonton will likely result in Charters for each city that are similar, but not exactly the same – much like the cities themselves.
The Edmonton and Calgary City Charters are expected to be adopted before the civic elections in October 2017.
A NEW RELATIONSHIP
Governing Big Cities
The province of Alberta continues to evolve and has undergone significant economic and demographic changes. Its two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, continue to experience rapid population change, and citizen expectations have evolved. Now, more than ever, they look to their municipalities to be responsive to their needs, support their social well-being, contribute to their economic prosperity and help protect their environment.
The Municipal Government Act governs all the municipalities in Alberta, from the smallest summer village (Betula Beach, population 10) to the largest cities (Edmonton, pop: 900,000 and Calgary, 1.2 million). This demonstrates the need for Calgary and Edmonton to have their own Charters specific to the needs of their city, their large-scale populations, and the large-scale challenges they face.
Through the City Charter process, The City of Calgary is seeking legislative authority to provide for citizens’ needs in these areas while ensuring that, as Alberta’s biggest and most prosperous city, we continue to support the province’s financial development.
The City Charter will act as a high-level policy framework for The City. Under the framework there will be three main elements:
- Legislative authority
- New fiscal framework
- Improved collaboration
The framework will not replace the Municipal Government Act (MGA), Traffic Safety Act or other acts, but will speak directly to The City of Calgary’s unique needs on specific policy items.
For example, under the City Charter, City Council will be able to determine its own code of conduct and enforcement provisions, it will have more say in sub-division and development processes as well as city assessment programs. In addition, the cities and the Government of Alberta are discussing collaboration on priorities such as housing, poverty reduction and environmental stewardship.
A New Relationship
The relationship between The City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta is critical to ensuring that The City has the appropriate authority to respond to citizens’ needs and expectations in a timely and effective manner.
Two initiatives are underway to build a new, mutually beneficial relationship. The first is the Government of Alberta’s review of the Municipal Government Act (MGA), the guiding piece of legislation for all municipalities in Alberta. The City is providing ongoing input into that review process, which will result in a new act in 2016.
The second initiative is the development of City Charters specific to Calgary and Edmonton. This tailored legislation will give the cities greater flexibility in some local decision-making, and enable us to address complex issues that big cities face.
Our City Charter team is working closely with The Government of Alberta to determine what should be included in the City Charter, based on input from Council, departmental representatives, subject matter experts, City of Calgary staff, interested stakeholders and the public.
- What is a City Charter?
- Are City Charters a new concept?
- What is the difference between the Municipal Government Act (MGA) and the City Charter?
- What will a City Charter mean for citizens?
- Are Calgary and Edmonton receiving special treatment compared to other Alberta municipalities?
- What will the Charters include?
- Will the public and other stakeholders have the opportunity to provide feedback?
- What is the timing around the development of the Charter?
- What is the collaboration agreement?
For more details please see the City Charters Overview Package on the Government of Alberta website.