Annexation within Alberta is a provincially legislated process where a municipality changes or expands its jurisdictional boundaries. In general, the reason that municipalities annex lands is for the purpose of accommodating future population growth, although annexation sometimes occurs to accommodate natural features in the environment, roadways, or infrastructure.
The process and rules for annexation are outlined in the Municipal Government Act and on the Alberta Municipal Affairs website , and are summarized as follows:
- The municipality proposing the annexation (“the initiating municipality”) submits a Notice of Proposed Annexation to the Land and Property Rights Tribunal* and to the municipality from where the lands are being annexed (“the responding municipality”). This Notice of Proposed Annexation must include a description of the lands to be annexed and a proposal for public consultation.
- The initiating municipality commences negotiations in good faith with the responding municipality.
- The initiating municipality consults with landowners, agencies, stakeholders, and the general public concerning the annexation proposal.
- If the initiating municipality and the responding municipality reach a complete agreement and there is support from landowners, the annexation is considered uncontested. If the initiating municipality, the landowners, and the responding municipality do not agree, the annexation is considered contested.
- If the initiating municipality and the responding municipality do not agree, mediation must be attempted.
- A report, including the outcomes of public consultation and negotiation, is then prepared by the initiating municipality and formal application is made to the Land and Property Rights Tribunal.
- If the annexation is contested or objections are received when the proposed annexation is advertised, the Land and Property Rights Tribunal will conduct a public hearing.
- After the public hearing, the Land and Property Rights Tribunal prepares a recommendations report which is provided to the Minister of Municipal Affairs for consideration. If the annexation is recommended for approval or approval in-part, the Land and Property Rights Tribunal report will advise the Minister to proceed to the Alberta Cabinet with an Order-in-Council to gain approval from their Cabinet colleagues.
- The Alberta Cabinet considers the Land and Property Rights Tribunal’s report. If the annexation is approved or approved in-part, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta signs the Order-in-Council.
- The Land and Property Rights Tribunal (LPRT) is an independent and impartial quasi-judicial board established under the Municipal Government Act by the Province of Alberta. The LPRT review annexation proposals, conducts public hearings, and makes recommendations to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The final decision on an annexation application is made by the Alberta Cabinet.