Grants and Support - Municipal Government Act

The new Municipal Government Act describes processes and procedures for municipalities to provide grants and supports to residents including types of assistance and support, conditions on loans and guarantees of loan repayment, and bylaw requirements.

How Municipalities can Provide Assistance or Support

The new Act provides municipalities with the ability to provide various types of assistance or support to residents, organizations, groups and controlled corporations. To provide support or assistance, such as grants or loans, a municipality must first pass a bylaw.

Types of Assistance or Support

Municipalities can offer the following assistance or support by bylaw:

  • Grant money, service charges, fees, land or items owned by the municipality
  • Loan money and guarantee repayment of loans
  • Provide the use of municipal land or items owned by the municipality
  • Sell or lease land or items that are the property of the municipality for an amount far lower than market value
  • Offer services of municipal officers, employees and agents
  • Donate goods purchased for that purpose by the municipality.

Bylaw Content

A bylaw passed by a municipality to provide assistance or support must contain a list of eligibility requirements to apply for, and receiving, a grant, gift, loan of money or municipal property or guarantee of loan repayment. Additionally, if the municipality is passing a bylaw to allow them to provide a loan or guarantee loan repayment, the bylaw must specify the interest rate, any terms and conditions, and other details that the Act describes.

Conditions on Loans and Guarantees of Loan Repayment

Councils can only lend money or guarantee the repayment of a loan to a non-profit organization or a controlled corporation and the loan or guarantee must be used to benefit the municipality. Council also needs to ensure that providing the loan or guarantee does not make the municipality exceed its own borrowing limits. Each loan or guarantee provided by a council must be specifically authorized by a bylaw of the municipality.

Issuing Grants or Other Assistance

Grants and other assistance, excluding loaning money and guaranteeing loan repayment, may be issued by a council under any terms and conditions council considers appropriate to any person, group, body or fund. The only requirement is that the council needs to consider the use of the grant or assistance to be for a purpose that is in the interest of the municipality.

Existing Legislation: What’s in Place Currently

The current Acts do not provide clear direction on how loans, grants and other forms of assistance or support can or should be provided by municipalities.

Note: This document is prepared by the Municipal Affairs Section of the Department of Communities, Land and Environment for general information purposes. This document should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice. 
Published date: 
January 6, 2017
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