+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 6-22F

Financial Burden of Emergency Service Response on Crown Lands

November 9, 2022
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2025
Active Status:
MD of Bighorn
2 - Central
Emergency Services
Intent Not Met
Vote Results:

WHEREAS many municipalities provide emergency services that respond to motor vehicle collisions, recreational accidents, and medical/traumatic injuries on Crown lands; and

WHEREAS in rural Alberta the vast majority of calls for emergency service are for visitors recreating in the Calgary Forest Area and associated Crown lands; and

WHEREAS emergency service accessing  remote areas results in increased apparatus costs, increased repair costs, exposure to dangerous response conditions, and extensive response times leaving rural communities without adequate response protection; and

WHEREAS rural communities  bear the financial burden of providing the same level of service to all Albertans within their municipal boundaries;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta request that the Government of Alberta develop a fee for service/compensation schedule for emergency services dispatched to respond to calls on Crown land.

Member Background:

The northern section of the Calgary Forest Area (CFA) falls within the Municipal District of Bighorn. The area lays east of the Banff National Park and is popular for camping, off highway vehicle (OHV) trails, shooting, fishing, hunting, hiking, mountain climbing, general recreation and sightseeing.

Municipal District of Bighorn statistics for responses to Crown landsfrom 2017 to present:

  • Bow Valley Provincial Park – 11
  • Bow Valley Wildlands Park – 16
  • Ghost Reservoir Recreation Area – 14
  • Kananaskis ID – 17
  • Provincial Crown lands– 43
  • MD (Includes Hwy 40/940/579/TransAlta Rd/Grotto Pond/Yamnuska Day Use Area/ACC) – 39

There is no compensation from the Government of Alberta for medical distress calls, search and rescue, or OHV accidents. The financial burden associated with emergency response services on Crown landsfalls on the MD.

Conversations held with elected officials in other rural municipalities have confirmed that they also carry the additional financial burden of responding for various emergency calls for service in their adjacent Crown lands. Rural leaders are frustrated with the province’s lack of financial support for the provision of emergency responses on Crown lands

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Government Response:

Alberta Health

This resolution calls on Alberta’s government to develop a fee-for-service/compensation schedule for emergency services dispatched to respond to calls on Crown lands.

Similarly to the response to Resolution 1-22F, to exercise their responsibility for public safety, municipalities are eligible to register with AHS’ MFR Program on a voluntary basis on behalf of their fire-rescue agencies. Alberta Health does not provide direct funding to cover operational costs incurred by municipal fire-rescue agencies or other rescue groups, including costs incurred on calls on Crown lands. That said, government does cover the cost of some training, equipment, and supports, including the development and administration of provincial medical control protocols for medical first responders.


The response provided mentions that some aspects of MFR is compensated, including training, equipment and supports, however the response does not acknowledge the time taken out of a municipal MFR’s shift to respond to emergencies which are not located within a municipality, but still require emergency assistance. Additionally, not all municipalities participate in the MFR program but may still respond to calls on Crown land due to a lack of available provincial response capacity.

As the response does not indicate that any additional compensation will be provided for calls on Crown Land, RMA assigns this a status of Intent Not Met.

Provincial Ministries:
Municipal Affairs
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