Compliance with Regional Plans
The Alberta Land Stewardship Act sets out the legal basis for regional land use planning in Alberta. Sections 20 and 21 of this Act require decision-making bodies and local government bodies to review their regulatory instruments and make any necessary changes to ensure these instruments comply with the regional plan. These bodies are required to submit a compliance declaration – which is a statutory declaration – declaring that they have complied with the applicable regional plan before a set deadline.
Duty to Submit a Compliance Declaration
Regional plans are akin to regulations and they are binding on everyone – including the Crown, decision-makers and individuals in Alberta. Everyone is expected to operate in a way that helps achieve regional planning outcomes. However, decision-making bodies and local government bodies affected by a regional plan have an additional responsibility to submit compliance declarations.
A “decision-making body” means an entity established by or under an enactment, all or a majority of whose members are appointed or designated
- By their personal names or by their names of office by an enactment,
- By an order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council,
- By an order of a Minister, or
- By any combination of the methods described in sub-clauses (i) to (iii).
A “local government body” means
- The governing body of a municipal authority as defined in the Municipal Government Act;
- The board of directors of a regional services commission under the Municipal Government Act;
ii.1 A growth management board under the Municipal Government Act;
- The council of a Métis settlement and the General Council;
- A board of directors established under the Irrigation Districts Act;
- A board of trustees established under the Drainage Districts Act; and
- A management body established under the Alberta Housing Act.
To comply with sections 20 and 21 of the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, a decision-making body or local government body must:
a) review the regional plan which affects them;
b) review their own regulatory instruments. A “regulatory instrument” includes:
(i) a bylaw of a local government body;
(ii) a rule, code of practice, guideline, directive or instrument having binding, guiding or recommending effect that is enacted under or used for the purpose of administering an enactment;
(iii) any of the following instruments of a government department, local government body or decision-making body:
(A) policies, plans, objectives or procedures;
(B) rules, directions or administrative regulations to guide or direct administrative conduct;
(C) instruments used to administer, guide or direct the exercise of regulatory, administrative or decision-making discretion or authority;
(D) instruments that manage, authorize, permit or allow an activity, other than a statutory consent or a regulation made under an enactment;
(iv) any instrument designated as a regulatory instrument by any regulations, but does not include a General Council Policy.
c) decide what, if any, new regulatory instruments or changes to regulatory instruments are required to comply with the regional plan;
d) make any necessary changes or implement new initiatives to comply with the regional plan; and
e) once the review is completed, submit a fully executed statutory declarationto the Land Use Secretariat.
It is expected that everyone will conduct business in a way that complies with regional plans and contributes toward achievement of desired regional plan outcomes.
Submission Due Dates
Each regional plan will specify the timelines for submitting a compliance declaration.
Currently, Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP) and South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) are the first two approved regional plans in Alberta. Decision-making bodies affected by LARP must submit their compliance declarations by September 15, 2014; and local government bodies must submit their compliance declarations by September 15, 2017. Decision-making bodies affected by SSRP must submit their compliance declarations by September 1, 2016; and local government bodies must submit their compliance declarations by September 1, 2019.
Because a regional plan binds everyone, everyone is expected to comply with the regional plan as soon as the plan is in force. However, decision-making bodies and local government bodies are provided with time to review their regulatory instruments in order to align those instruments with the regional plan.
Reminder Letters from the Land Use Secretariat
The Land Use Secretariat oversees regional planning in Alberta. The Secretariat will send reminder letters to certain decision-making bodies and local government bodies operating within the boundaries of an approved regional plan to remind these bodies of their statutory obligation to submit a compliance declaration.
If your organization did not receive a reminder letter, this does NOT necessarily mean a compliance declaration does not need to be submitted. All decision-making bodies and local government bodies must comply with the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and approved regional plans, whether they have received a reminder letter or not. It is up to the decision-making body or local government body to determine whether they are affected by a regional plan thus triggering the requirement to review their regulatory instruments and submit a compliance declaration to the Land Use Secretariat.
Submitting a Signed Compliance Declaration
Please submit an electronic, fax or paper copy of the completed compliance declaration to:
Land Use Secretariat
10035 – 108 ST Centre West Building
Achieving Desired Regional Outcomes
It is a legal requirement to submit a statutory declaration. Local government bodies should refer to section 570.01 of the Municipal Government Act which sets out steps that may be taken if a certain bodies have not complied with a regional plan.
The compliance declaration is a tool to ensure bodies are reviewing their regulatory instruments so that they make decisions that align with the regional plan. Bodies that do not comply with a regional plan may hinder achieving desired regional plan outcomes and ultimately, have a negative impact on the region’s community, environment and economy.
For more information, refer to Frequently Asked Compliance Declarations Questions or contact the Land Use Secretariat at (780) 644-7972.