EDMONTON -- The Alberta government is overhauling municipal financing rules, including changing regulations on campaign surpluses as well as the limit on donations to candidates.

Bill 29, the Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, was introduced by Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu on Wednesday afternoon.

“These changes are about levelling the playing field, so the best candidates for local office – regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum – are running and winning,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu.

The specific changes include:

  • Mandating campaign surpluses over $1,000 are donated to charity. Currently, these can be held in municipal and school board trust accounts.
  •  Allowing Albertans to donate to as many candidates as they wish, up to $5,000 per candidate. Currently, they are capped at $4,000 province-wide.
  • Removing the definition of “political advertising” from the act. Any advertising that is issue-based is not regulated through the act. Promotion of candidates requires registration by a third party.
  • Allowing candidates to self-finance campaigns up to $10,000 per year

The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and Rural Municipalities of Alberta both expressed support for the changes.

“AUMA and its members support many of these practical changes to the Local Authorities Election Act that enable fair, transparent elections. It is paramount that local elections remain local, and that amendments preserve the non-partisan, democratic processes that Albertans expect,” said AUMA president Barry Morishita.

The act was last updated in 2018.

If passed, Bill 29 will take effect on Sept. 1. The next round of municipal elections is scheduled for October of 2021. Nominations open on Jan. 1, 2021.​