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Municipal Land Use Planning in Alberta: Edmonton Region

Municipal Land Use Planning in Alberta

Edmonton Region

This region consists of the 13 municpalities, within the capital region, with populations of 5,000 or more including: Edmonton, Beaumont, Devon, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Leduc County, Morinville, Parkland County, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Strathcona County, and Sturgeon County.

Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA)

Alberta Land Stewardship Act (2009) Current as of 11-Dec-13

Establishes the legal basis for the development of regional plans under the Land-use Framework.

The ALSA incorporates the Land Use Framework, setting out seven “land-use regions” for the province. The MGA has been amended to require planning and subdivision authorities’ and the SDAB`s actions to be consistent with any applicable ALSA regional plan (s. 630 of the MGA).

Alberta Land Stewardship Regulation (2011)

Provides clear rules for Albertans concerning the implementation of regional plans under the Land-use Framework.

Land-use Framework (2008)

In response to Alberta's remarkable growth over the past years, the Government of Alberta started a comprehensive initiative to develop a new land-use planning system for the province. Introduced in 2008, the Land-use Framework ushers in a new approach to managing lands and natural resources to achieve Alberta's long-term economic, environmental and social goals. This document provides a blueprint for land-use management and decision-making that addresses Alberta’s growth pressures.

Municipal Government Act (MGA)

Municipal Government Act (2000) Current as of 1-Apr-2018

The MGA regulates the subdivision and development of land in Alberta. It provides guidance on land use planning in Alberta.

Land Use Policies (1996)

Established by Lieutenant Governor In Council Pursuant to Section 622 of the Municipal Government Act Order in Council 522/96. Section 622 of the MGA provides for the establishment of provincial land use policies that identify common issues to be considered in municipal planning. The Land Use Policies will help municipalities to harmonize provincial and municipal policy initiatives at the local land-use planning level.

The Legislative Framework for Regional and Municipal Planning: Subdivision and Development Regulation

The SDR was adopted under the MGA, outlines the information required for subdivision applications, referral agencies, relevant considerations for approvals of subdivision applications, and the time limits for issuing a decision on a subdivision application.

How do Municipalities Work Together and Plan for Growth?

Alberta Municipal Affairs: Planning and Development Resources

Resources for Providers of Accessible Transportation Services: A Toolkit


{C} {C} {C} Regional Plans

The land use policies do not apply in any planning for which a regional plan has been adopted pursuant to the ALSA (s. 622(4) of the MGA).

Lower Athabasca Region  (regional plan (2012-2022) approved 22-August -12)

Lower Peace Region (not started)

North Saskatchewan Region (phase one of the public consultations completed)

Red Deer Region (not started)

South Saskatchewan Region (amended regional plan (2014-2024) approved 20-Jan-17)

Upper Athabasca Region (not started)

Upper Peace Region (not started)


{C} {C} {C} Municipal Planning Framework

The MGA establishes the authority of municipalities to develop, adopt, implement, and review plans and bylaws that integrate the legislation, planning principles, and community views.

Section 622(3) of the MGA requires that every statutory plan, land use bylaw and action undertaken pursuant to Part 17 of the MGA must be consistent with the land use policies.

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region: A Region to Realize Every Ambition

Subdivision Control

The MGA requires all municipalities to establish a subdivision authority to exercise powers and duties on behalf of the municipality. The subdivision authority is responsible for receiving, processing, and deciding on subdivision applications in accordance with the ALSA regional Plan, the MGA, and other current enactments and regulations.

Subdivision of Land in Edmonton

Land Use Bylaws

All municipalities are required to adopt a land use bylaw. The land use bylaw divides the municipality into districts, prescribing permitted and/or discretionary uses for each district.

The bylaw establishes development standards within each district and provides for a system for issuing development permits.

A land use bylaw defines the land use districts, the land uses within each district and the development standards. It provides the details to evaluate applications for development or subdivision and acts as the implementation document for the statutory plans.

Zoning Bylaw No. 12800 was adopted by City Council on February 22, 2001 and became effective on June 14, 2001. This bylaw contains the rules and regulations for the development of land in Edmonton.

Statutory Plans

The Transitional Regional Evaluation Framework, a mechanism for the approval of municipal statutory plans, was created though Ministerial Order and requires that growth plans include four principal components:

·         A Land Use Plan

·         A Housing Plan

·         An Intermunicipal Transit Network Plan

·         A Geographic Information Services (GIS) Plan

Municipal Development Plans, Intermunicipal Development Plans and Area Structure Plans are adopted by municipalities in accordance with the MGA to ensure effective long-term growth strategies for a municipality.

Regional Evaluation Framework (REF)

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board uses the Regional Evaluation Framework (REF) to implement its Growth Plan. Under the REF, the Board reviews and approves statutory plans and amendments from its 13 municipal members to ensure regional planning decisions are coordinated and consistent with the direction and intent of the integrated Growth Plan.

Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan Maps (GIS)

Municipal Development Plan

The municipal development plan establishes policies for land use in the entire municipality. Municipalities with a population of 3500 or more are required to adopt a municipal development plan. Municipalities with a population of less than 3500 are encouraged to do so.

Two or more municipalities may adopt an intermunicipal development plan in respect of land where a consensus on use and development is desired. Such a plan typically relates to the fringe area of urban and rural municipalities or to shared natural features such as lakes.

Re-imagine. Plan. Build: Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan (2016)

This growth plan provides a compelling vision, guiding principles and six interrelated regional policy areas to guide growth and development over the next 30 years. It recognizes the symbiotic and integrated nature of growth.

Growing Forward: Build: Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan (2009)

Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan Dashboard

Monitoring, evaluating and reporting on changes in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region and the implementation of the Plan are critical to analyzing and understanding the effectiveness of the Plan and enabling its success.


Area Structure Plan

Municipalities may adopt area structure plans to establish the general land use, transportation, and servicing framework for specific areas undergoing substantial new development.

Area Redevelopment Plan

Municipalities may adopt area redevelopment plans to outline proposals for addressing planning issues when rejuvenating existing developed areas.

Other Supporting or Related Sources for Edmonton

Capital Region Energy Corridors Master Plan

Energy Corridors are needed to provide efficient and cost-effective access into and out of the Region from power and petroleum producing sources. As the ability to move and access power and petroleum products becomes more constrained in the Region, other potential petrochemical hubs such as Hardisty or Northeast British Columbia will become more attractive for related industrial development and economic growth

Edmonton Metropolitan Region Planning Toolkit

The Planning Toolkit is a guide to aid Edmonton Metropolitan Region member municipalities and stakeholders with the implementation of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan.

The Regional Evaluation Framework (REF)

Consolidated Planning Toolkit (including Interpretive Guides and Appendices)

Planning Toolkit

Planning Toolkit Appendix A - REF Application Package Checklist

Planning Toolkit Appendix B - EMRB Administrative Procedures for REF

Interpretive Guide 1 - Sub-Area Structure Plans

Interpretive Guide 2 - Country Residential

Interpretive Guide 3 - Pipeline Corridors

Interpretive Guide 4 - Improvements to a Road

Interpretive Guide 5 - Park and Rides/LRT Corridors