Position statements provide a concise overview of RMA’s position on key policy areas
RMA takes pride in representing the rural municipal perspective to governmental decision-makers, industry, and other stakeholders. As part of our advocacy efforts, RMA develops and updates a series of position statementsthat summarize and reflect the RMA perspective on key policy areas. These position statements are updated and approved by the Board of Directors twice each year. RMA encourages members to review the position statements and use them as a resource in local advocacy efforts.
Position statements are divided into the following themes (click on the links below to view each category):
Document provides an overview of how the Investing in Canada plan is administered in other provinces and territories
On April 3, 2018, the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta completed a bilateral agreement establishing how phase 2 of the federal Investing in Canada plan will be administered in Alberta. Further information on eligibility parameters, application procedures, and other key information is available on the Government of Alberta website.
The Government of Canada has negotiated separately with all provinces and territories to determine how the Investing in Canada plan funding will be administered within that jurisdiction. To this point, bilateral agreements have been completed with five provinces (including Alberta) and three territories. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has prepared a summary and comparison documentof the bilateral agreements completed to this point which shows commonalities and differences. The document also provides an overview of the information that provincial/territorial associations and municipalities should ask their provincial/territorial government as the administration of the funding moves forward.
In addition to reviewing the FCM document, the RMA encourages members to apply for Investing in Canada plan funding. The funding is divided into the following components (click on the links for more information, as well as application and reporting instructions for each stream):
Public Transit - $2.1 billion – Reserved for municipalities with existing public transit networks, and distributed based on ridership; no open application process will occur for this stream.
All municipal projects supported by the Investing in Canada plan will be cost shared between federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal levels of government. The federal government has committed to contributing up to 40% of costs for municipal projects under all streams, except for the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure stream, where the federal government will contribute up to 50% of costs, and up to 60% of costs for municipalities with a population below 5,000. Provincial contributions on municipal projects will be at least 33.3% of project costs.
For the Green Infrastructure, Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure, and Rural and Northern Communities streams, the application deadline is August 1, 2018.
In addition to municipalities, the Government of Alberta, non-profit organizations, Indigenous Ultimate Recipients, and for-profit organizations (when working collaboratively with a municipality, provincial body, or Indigenous Ultimate Recipient) are eligible to apply for funding under most Investing in Canada plan streams.
TheOff-Site Levies Amendment Regulation was recently released to the public, where it outlined several requirements for municipalities to consider when determining off-site levy amounts, and the use of agreements focused on funding and the reimbursement of costs.
The Regulation places sole responsibility on the municipality to address and define existing and future infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, and facility requirements.
Within the Regulation, there are a few terms, such as “degree of benefit” and “proportional benefit” which may create differences in application amongst municipalities.
The incorporation of the term “transportation infrastructure” which is defined as infrastructure and land in section 648 of theMunicipal Government Act.
Expansion under section 3 to include:
Clarification that a levy will not direct the Government of Alberta to undertake actions (funding or otherwise) related to transportation infrastructure.
The use of agreements that clarifies the use of a levy to solely fund the construction of infrastructure, or transportation infrastructure.
The use of an agreement to identify reimbursement of the cost incurred or payment made in excess of the applicant’s “proportional benefit” of the infrastructure, transportation infrastructure or facilities.
Section 5(1) (Principles and criteria for determining costs) requires the consideration of the following in calculating a levy:
Supporting traffic impact assessments and other technical studies, statutory plans, policies, or agreements related to growth and need for and benefits from the new transportation infrastructure.
The portion of the estimated costs beyond those covered by the province that will be covered by the municipality, levy-generated revenue, and other sources of revenues.
The requirement for the municipality to determine the benefitting areas, based on reasonable geographic area that will use of the transportation infrastructure.
RMA, along with Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA), are working to develop a guide focused on off-site levies as part of the Municipal Government Act change management process. This information will be critical in assisting municipalities with developing their intermunicipal development plans (IDPs) and intermunicipal collaboration frameworks (ICFs).
The Miistakis Institute has recently announced the release of the Municipal Flood and Drought Action Planning Primer. The Flood and Drought Primer is the first part of a two-part process. The intent of the Primer is to provide a starting point for municipalities to understand the type of information, data, and programs available to inform and support flood and drought mitigation planning.
The second part of the process (commencing May 2018) will be to develop a step-by-step guide for municipalities to develop their own flood and drought mitigation plans. While this project is focused on the South Saskatchewan River Basin because of the risk of flood and drought, the Primer could be used by any municipality in Alberta.
The Alberta Innovates Water Innovation Program (WIP) is designed to help achieve the goals of the Government of Alberta’s Water for Life Strategy: safe, secure drinking water; healthy aquatic ecosystems; and reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy.
Alberta Innovates is hosting the Water Innovation Program Forum, the purpose of which is to review the progress of research initiatives, support planning for new initiatives, and discuss how research outcomes can inform public policy and support improved water management in Alberta.
For more information on this event or to register, click here.
RMA and AUMA are pleased to invite members to a series of educational webinars on cannabis and public health. These webinars will provide recommendations to help municipalities make cannabis policy decisions that promote and protect the wellbeing of their citizens. Given the health and social impacts of cannabis, collaborative and comprehensive municipal regulations are key in reducing potential harms.
Webinar I – Regulating Public Consumption
Cannabis legalization has the potential to normalize smoking and as such, reverse or impair the gains that have been made in creating smoke-free public spaces. This webinar will review municipal options to regulate the public consumption of cannabis, with a focus on preventing the renormalization of public smoking. The webinar will describe a broad approach to limiting smoking and vaping in public places, reducing youth exposure, simplifying enforcement, and increasing voluntary compliance. Leadership from Alberta municipalities will be profiled.
Webinar II – Developing Bylaws for Land-Use and Business Licensing
This webinar will focus on land use/zoning and business licensing by-law development. Topics will include separation distances, density, numbers of stores, co-location, hours of operation, advertising, signage, business license application processes, and good neighbor agreements. Experts from public health will provide key background information and examples from Alberta municipalities that show promising practices in cannabis by-law development.