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Action Plan Summary


Action Plan IntroductionAction Plan Summary PDF​​


Action Plan 2015-2018 describes how The City of Calgary will respond to the needs and aspirations of the citizens of Calgary over the next four years. It identifies priorities for the period and recommends the services and initiatives that will be provided, the performance results that Administration commits to accomplish, and the operating and capital budgets that will support the achievement of these results.



Council Priorities for 2015-2018 are founded on the 100-year community vision and long-term goals and aspirations articulated by Calgarians through the imagineCALGARY  plan completed in 2006. They were also influenced by information on key trends and emerging issues anticipated in the next four years, the views of Calgarians as expressed through extensive citizen engagement, and Council-approved long-term plans (specifically the Municipal Development Plan  and the Calgary Transportation Plan ). Council also took into account The City's financial projections and funding opportunities and constraints. Further information on all of these influencing factors can be found in The City's Financial Position.

Council Priorities, approved on 2014 May 5, set the direction for the next four years, describing the outcomes that are most important for The City of Calgary, and some major initiatives that Council has identified for this business cycle.

Also approved on May 5 were financial guidelines, in the form of indicative rates for property taxes (annual increases of 4.7 per cent), water utilities, waste and recycling services, and user fees for other City services. The indicative property tax rate increase will increase taxes on the average residential property by $6.75 per month in the 2015-2018 cycle.

Action Plan Introduction

Council Priorities reflect the aspirations and priorities expressed by the Calgary community. Plan is Administration's response to Council Priorities and, in this way, forms part of Administration's "shared agenda" with Council. The plans and budgets also show how Administration will provide value to the Calgary community, through the provision of services, and delivery of key priorities, within the funding available.

Action Plan demonstrates The City of Calgary's organizational values of Collective Accountability and Individual Responsibility. Collectively, Administration is accountable to achieve the results described in Action Plan, each of which requires the participation and contribution of many City departments. The individual role and responsibility of each department and business unit is described in the department and business unit approval pages.

Action Plan demonstrates The City of Calgary's organizational values of Collective Accountability and Individual Responsibility. Collectively, Administration is accountable to achieve the results described in Action Plan, each of which requires the participation and contribution of many City departments. The individual role and responsibility of each department and business unit is described in the department and business unit approval pages.

Detailed information on how Administration plans to respond to each Council Priority is provided in the department pages of Action Plan. Department performance measures and specific actions were developed for each of Council's Priorities, and the 44 associated strategic actions.

This Action Plan website includes information on how Action Plan will address some important issues over the next four years, including:

  • Responding to the 2013 flood;
  • Making progress on the Municipal Development Plan  and Calgary Transportation Plan;
  • Accommodating growth; and
  • Incorporating the Leadership Team Strategic Plan and Contract with Council.
  • A summary of the operating and capital budgets, organizational chart, and a complete list of City services is also included.

    Action Plan is a living document. Administration will continue to regularly report to Council and the public over the next four years on progress in relation to the plans and budgets. Consistent with the Council-approved approach, there will be opportunities to bring forward adjustments to plans and budgets as needed, in response to emerging needs and changing circumstances. As well, there will be a more significant mid-cycle review after two years, which will include a check-in with citizens, and an update on emerging issues and trends.

Learn more by reading A Four-Year Plan for Calgary.

Action Plan builds on the strengths of past cycles and includes some notable steps forward. Among them:

  • There is a clearer line of sight between Council Priorities and Administration's proposed business plans, because Council Priority outcomes and strategies are used as departmental plan outcomes and strategies;
  • There is a considerable increase in the use of benchmarking, showing The City's performance in relation to similar organizations, emphasizing lessons learned and how these will be addressed in the coming business cycle;
  • Detailed historical budget information is provided for easy reference;
  • More information on the future operating budget impacts of proposed capital investments, including operating budget estimates beyond the current (2015-2018) cycle.

Action Plan also includes:

  • Information on what we heard from citizens through citizen engagement, and identification of how citizen's ideas are reflected in the plans.
  • Performance measures and targets related to each outcome.
  • Detailed descriptions and budget information on more than one hundred lines of service provided by The City of Calgary.
  • Continued focus on finding efficiencies, balancing the provision of quality public services with keeping taxes and user fee increases affordable.

Structure of the Action Plan Document

This Action Plan document has three primary components:

  • The Action Plan Summary includes a synopsis of the major inputs that have informed the creation of Council Priorities and the business plans and budgets, and highlights of Administration’s response in selected areas.
  • The department sections contain background information specific to the department and its business units, followed by the proposed business plans (strategies, actions, and performance measures and targets) and operating and capital budgets, for Council's review and approval. Benchmarking information and additional information on citizen engagement is also found here.
  • Supplemental Information  has additional summarized information and budget analysis tables.

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The Action Plan Process

Action Plan is about connecting our long-term priorities and strategy, set by Calgary City Council, and translating these into actions implemented by City Administration. The business plans and budgets process associated with Action Plan – including approval of Council Priorities -- establishes a four-year strategic focus for investment and resources to ensure that Calgary remains a vibrant, prosperous city for decades to come.

Based in the Chief Financial Officer’s Department and operating within the City Manager’s Office, Action Plan is drafted and approved once every four years. A 12-month process results in Council approval and encompasses four key areas of activity:

The Action Plan process also operates within existing legislative frameworks. Alberta’s Municipal Government Act, for example, requires Council to adopt a balanced operating budget for each calendar year. Unlike other levels of government, The City cannot budget for a deficit.

Multi-year business planning and budgeting helps good cities to become great cities. With this process, The City co-ordinates resources and actions to implement long-term plan goals, and deliver services that are funded through budget allocations over the next few years, reflecting the direction set by elected councils and citizen engagement.

Approved by City Council in 2004, The City of Calgary launched its first multi-year planning process in 2006. The benefits of this multi-year approach include:

  • Coordinating and approving funding to support long-term goals.
  • Providing citizens with more certainty about the direction of City services, finances, taxation and utility rates levels.
  • Strategic use of Council's time in reviewing plans and budgets, and the Administration's time in preparing them.
  • Flexibility to adjust approved plans and budgets to respond to changing circumstances.
  • Enabling City Administration to implement Council's vision over time - realizing the complexity of the corporate mandate and reinforcing accountability.

Council Priorities have been a central part of this process since 2006. In its first multi-year business plans and budgets, there were upwards of 80 different priorities. As the business planning and budgeting process has evolved, Council Priorities have remained central in providing direction.

In 2013, Council approved an integrated four-year approach to business planning and budgeting to reflect the new municipal electoral cycle of four-year terms. Under the 3-year business plans and budget cycles, flexibility was maintained to respond to changing circumstances through an annual adjustment process. Under the new four year cycle format for 2015-2018, additional flexibility has been incorporated in balance with the longer cycle.

Action Plan is a living document that will adapt with Calgary's changing needs. As part of this process, The City reports to Council twice yearly on budget, performance and plans. Council approves adjustments to the current four-year plan every November. Specifically, annual adjustments allow City Council and Administration to respond to emerging events and unexpected issues (economic, demographic, financial), and maintain the integrity of four-year plans and budgets.

In addition to annual adjustments, a more comprehensive mid-cycle adjustment is being introduced for 2015-2018. This mid-cycle adjustment includes an updated review of the socio-economic outlook and opportunities to revisit Council Priorities and citizen engagement. This adjustment will be conducted in 2016, to enable changes to the second half of the cycle (years 2017 and 2018).

Mid-year and year-end accountability reports provide an update on the status of all Council Priorities major service initiatives, key accomplishments, department budget performance and upcoming challenges.

The City also prepares a Corporate Annual Report & Audited Financial Statements, as required by the Municipal Government Act. It includes a high-level review of accomplishments, as well as annual Financial Statements and the external Auditor's Report.