Legal Studies 479
Local Government Law in Alberta (OCW)

 

Legal Studies 479
Local Government Law in Alberta (OCW)

Legal Studies 479

Unit 2: Municipalities and Changes in Their Status

Objectives

After completing this unit, you should be able to

  1. understand Part 4 (sections 76–141) and Part 15 (sections 581–602) of the Municipal Government Act;
  2. explain the distinction between municipal districts, summer villages, villages, towns, cities, specialized municipalities, and “quasi-municipal forms”;
  3. describe the process by which municipalities can change form;
  4. describe the process by which municipalities can amalgamate;
  5. describe the process by which municipalities can be annexed; and
  6. describe the process by which municipalities can be dissolved.

The Municipal Government Act recognizes that municipalities have natural person powers and, like natural persons, municipalities are formed, grow, and cease to be.  Although all municipalities are equal in comparison to each other, and are able to exercise the same powers, they are distinguished by their size and population, with the Act distinguishing them by both the size of the majority of their lots and their number of residents.

There are three basic forms of municipalities: rural, urban and specialized.  In addition, there are three forms of “quasi-municipalities”:  improvement districts, special areas and hamlets.

There are approximately 243 municipalities in the province of Alberta of varying sizes and populations, not including the “quasi-municipalities.”

The power to create and change municipal status rests with the Lieutenant Governor in Council.  This power is most often exercised as a result of a recommendation by either the Minister of Municipal Affairs or the Municipal Government Board, or both.  As a result, most of the law in relation to status change is found in the written reports of the Municipal Government Board, rather than in Court decisions. 

Summer at Sunshine Village

Sunshine Village ski resort, Banff, Alberta, Canada. Author: John Johnston. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved April 3, 2012.

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