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Why user fees?

Provincial legislation in Alberta currently provides municipalities with two primary sources of ongoing revenue: taxes and user fees.


Taxes (property and business) are paid by all property and business owners to help pay the cost of City services and infrastructure, such as roads, parks, protective services, etc., which are used by all citizens.

User fees

User fees are paid by Calgarians who use and benefit privately from certain City goods and services. Some examples are public transit fares, recreation fees, and water and waste disposal services.

User fees and levels of tax support subsidies for City services

1. Fully tax-supported - no user fees

Some services provided by The City are fully tax supported and have no user fees, such as police and fire services, roads, and local parks. These services are funded through property tax and other taxes and are available to everyone.

2. Partially tax-supported – reduced user fees

These services, such as recreation facilities and transit fares, benefit individuals and society at large. Because user fees alone are not sufficient to recover the full cost, they are funded through a combination of user fees and taxes.

3. No tax support – full user fees

Because these services, such as water, sewers, and golf courses, primarily benefit the individual using the service, the full costs of providing the service are recovered through a user fee.

4. Licences, permits and approvals – full user fees

Licences, permits and approvals are used to regulate the use of or changes to private property such as building permits, development permits, business licences and pet licences. Users who are non-compliant can also be fined.

User fees and subsidies information

User Fees & Subsidies Policy

User Fees Chart