Legal Studies 479
Local Government Law in Alberta (OCW)

 

Legal Studies 479
Local Government Law in Alberta (OCW)

Legal Studies 479

Study Guide

Introduction

Local governments are the level of government most closely connected to the citizens they represent. Whether it is maintaining the roads that people drive upon or collecting waste, the municipality plays a critical role in providing services that impact people most closely in their day-to-day lives. Some have suggested that if the federal government were to disappear, it would take about a week to notice its absence. If the provincial government were to disappear, it would take a few days. However, if the municipal government were to disappear, the impact would be immediate. No other level of government affects the lives of its residents as directly and as often as does a municipality.

The role of Alberta municipalities is broad.  Councils must not only determine which services are necessary for the greater good of the community, but they must also decide how to fund those services.  Municipal councils juggle the long range needs of a municipality with the three-year election cycle. 

The role of the municipality is also a balancing act.  A municipality’s purpose is to provide services or facilities that it believes are necessary or desirable for all or part of the municipality and, yet, it must weigh the good for all or part of the community against the costs for other parts or other citizens.  Often, what one group perceives as desirable is perceived as detrimental by another group.  How municipalities make decisions is guided by the scope of the Municipal Government Act and the guidance provided by the case law.

This course examines the law relating to municipalities, particularly in Alberta, and examines their duties, their responsibilities, and their limitations.  The course is intended primarily for those who require knowledge of the functions of municipalities and the scope of their authority.  Although intended for those employed by municipalities, it will be of interest to those who deal with local governments in their business or professional lives.  It may also be of interest to those who work with or for other agencies who interconnect with municipalities, such as utility providers.

Last modified: Wednesday, 24 July 2013, 10:14 AM MDT
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