Province introduces changes to Municipal Government Act

A requirement for municipalities to set up councillor codes of conduct is included in amendments aimed at modernizing Alberta's Municipal Government Act.
Municipal Affairs Minister Diana McQueen discussed proposed changes to the Municipal Governance Act on Monday. (CBC)

The men and women running Alberta's towns and cities would be subject to a code of conduct, according to proposed changes to the province's Municipal Government Act.

"Albertans have made it quite clear that they want to hold councillors more accountable for their actions, " said Helen Rice, president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.

"Obviously elections are the best accountability mechanism you can get. But what they wanted to see was something that addressed immediate or urgent issues."

The province wants to make 54 changes to the act which hasn’t been updated in twenty years.

The code of conduct measure was among 11 amendments were tabled Monday.

The province wants to make 54 changes to the act which hasn’t been updated in twenty years. The remaining amendments will be introduced this fall and tweaked in spring 2016. The government wants the amendments proclaimed in the fall of 2016. 

“It lays the foundations for how municipalities operate, how municipal councils function, and how citizens and Albertans can work with their municipalities,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Diana McQueen.

If passed, the first set of amendments would compel councils to have three-year operating plans, along with five-year capital plans, The changes would also define what a meeting is, when councillors are allowed to conduct business behind closed doors and mandate those involved in subdivision and development appeal board to take a training course.

Another proposed amendment would allow for the creation of city charters. Parallel talks are still underway on what the charters will look like. McQueen says that process is on schedule.