City Charter Legislation

The Issue:

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) provides the governance model for every city, town, village, and municipal district in Alberta. It is now being updated and modernized by the Government of Alberta. It is no secret that Alberta municipalities have long sought the authority to implement a variety of taxes, including taxes on businesses like hotels. Hotels already contribute significantly to their communities through property taxes and employment. They are also subject to the 4% Tourism Levy, which is used to grow Alberta’s tourism economy through Travel Alberta and investments in attractions such as the Calgary Zoo, Fort Edmonton Park, and Royal Tyrrell Museum.

The AHLA is deeply concerned that new municipal taxes would:

  • have a crippling effect on tourism and hospitality businesses when combined with other additional costs presented by minimum wage increases, the carbon levy, and the economic downturn;
  • create additional expenses for anyone visiting the community; and
  • make Edmonton and Calgary less competitive in the global tourism marketplace.

Any financial benefit to the municipality would be offset by a corresponding reduction in sales. Additionally, new municipal taxes would affect Albertans more than any other segment of visitors, as Albertans accounted for 13.16 million hotel room nights in 2014.

The AHLA encourages the Government of Alberta to retain authority over taxation, and ensure our cities are supported through predictable and sustainable funding from the province rather than through new taxation powers. This will allow our tourism and hospitality industry to continue to grow and diversify our economy for the benefit of all Albertans.

The AHLA is working with local hotel associations in Edmonton and Calgary and will be monitoring the issue closely to ensure our members’ interests are represented.

View the AHLA’s Letter to the Minister