WHEREAS emergency measures organizations play a vital role in every municipality;AND WHEREAS the Income Tax Act determines that remuneration paid to members of emergency measures organizations is taxable, with the exception or the first $1,000 paid to fire fighters in any given year;AND WHEREAS members of emergency measures organizations who receive remuneration do not meet the definition of volunteer in the Municipal Government Act and the Local Authorities Election Act and as such are not able to hold municipal office without resigning their position on the emergency measures organization;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to amend the Municipal Government Act and the Local Authorities Election Act to allow members of emergency measures organizations, who receive nominal remuneration, to hold municipal office concurrently with their position on the emergency measures organization.
Section 170(3)(h) of the Municipal Government Act reads as follows:170(3) A Councillor does not have a pecuniary interest by reason only of any interest:(h) that the Councillor or member of the Councillors family may have(i) by being appointed as the volunteer chief or other volunteer officer of a fire or ambulance service or emergency measures organization or other volunteer organization or service.Section 22(1)(b) of the Local Authorities Election Act reads as follows:22(1) A person is not eligible to be nominated as a candidate in any election under this Act if on nomination day:(b) the person is an employee of the local jurisdiction for which the election is to be held unless the person is on a leave of absence granted under this section.Section 22(4)(m) of the Local Authorities Election Act further states:22(4) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person by reason onlym) that the person is a volunteer chief, officer or member of a fire, ambulance or emergency measures organization established by a local jurisdiction or that the person is a volunteer for another purpose who performs duties under the direction of the local jurisdiction.The question here does not lie with the fact that both acts clearly allow for volunteer members of emergency measures organizations to run for, and hold, office while continuing on with their volunteer position. The issue here is rather with the definition of volunteer. The Canada Revenue Agency has recently (three to four years ago) made a ruling which, for the most part excludes many members of emergency measures organizations in Alberta from being described as volunteers. They are employees of the municipality and are treated as such for all other aspects of the operation.As such, members of emergency measures organizations who are paid, even a nominal amount are classified as municipal employees for municipal election purposes and currently must resign their position on the emergency measures organization if they are successful in their bid to run for office.This puts a strain on smaller organizations located in less populated areas that are fighting to keep up their membership due to low enrollment. We believe that it was clearly the intent of the Municipal Government Act and the Local Authorities Election Act to allow for members of these emergency measures organizations to continue to hold their positions while on municipal council. With the recent ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency to charge income taxes on the aforementioned positions however, the provincial legislation must be changed to keep up with this new development.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.
The government is not contemplating any changes to the MGA or the LAEA that would change the current ability of members of emergency measures organizations to hold municipal office.