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Governing Big Cities

The province of Alberta continues to evolve and has undergone significant economic and demographic changes. Its two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, continue to experience rapid population change, and citizen expectations have evolved. Now, more than ever, they look to their municipalities to be responsive to their needs, support their social well-being, contribute to their economic prosperity and help protect their environment.

The Municipal Government Act governs all the municipalities in Alberta, from the smallest summer village (Betula Beach, population 10) to the largest cities (Edmonton, pop: 900,000 and Calgary, 1.2 million). This demonstrates the need for Calgary and Edmonton to have their own Charters specific to the needs of their city, their large-scale populations, and the large-scale challenges they face.

Through the City Charter process, The City of Calgary is seeking legislative authority to provide for citizens’ needs in these areas while ensuring that, as Alberta’s biggest and most prosperous city, we continue to support the province’s financial development.

City Charter will act as a high-level policy framework for The City. Under the framework there will be three main elements:

  • Legislative authority
  • New fiscal framework
  • Improved collaboration

The framework will not replace the Municipal Government Act (MGA), Traffic Safety Act or other acts, but will speak directly to The City of Calgary’s unique needs on specific policy items.

For example, under the City Charter, City Council will be able to determine its own code of conduct and enforcement provisions, it will have more say in sub-division and development processes as well as city assessment programs. In addition, the cities and Province are discussing collaboration on priorities such as housing, poverty reduction and environmental stewardship.

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