2019 Municipal Law Seminar Registration Now Open


Central Seminar (Edmonton): Friday, February 15, 2019

Our 34th Annual Central Municipal Law Seminar will take place on Friday, February 15th in Edmonton. Our program will run from 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM with a casual reception to follow. Doors open at 7:45 AM. The cost to attend is $125 per person and includes continental breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks, post-program reception, and a materials booklet to take home.

Southern Seminar (Airdrie): Friday, February 22, 2019

Our 11th Annual Southern Municipal Law Seminar will take place on Friday, February 22nd in Airdrie. Our program will run from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM. Doors open at 8:30 AM. The cost to attend is $100 per person and includes continental breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks, and a materials booklet to take home.

Northern Seminar (Grande Prairie): Friday, March 8, 2019

Our 24th Annual Northern Municipal Law Seminar will take place on Friday, March 8th in Grande Prairie. Our program will run from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM. Doors open at 8:30 AM. The cost to attend is $100 per person and includes continental breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks, post- program reception, and a materials booklet to take home.

This year’s topics include:

Words Matter – Unravelling Legal Language (Edmonton Only)
The law sometimes uses words in mysterious and unexpected ways. In this session, we’ll take a look at the interesting, surprising, and sometimes quirky ways that statutes (like the Municipal Government Act), contracts (like the standard form municipal construction and roadbuilding contracts), and courts use and abuse the English language. To quote a noted (though fictional) scholar: “You keep using that word – I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Constitutional Challenges to Municipal Bylaws
In this session, we will discuss the various ways municipal bylaws can be challenged under the Constitution of Canada. We will discuss constitutional challenges based on the s. 91 and s. 92 division of powers between the Provinces and the Federal Government, including when bylaws may be considered, in pith and substance, criminal law. We will also discuss constitutional challenges to municipal bylaws based on the Charter and review how the Oakes Test works. The fear of a constitutional challenge is not uncommon when considering new or progressive bylaws and the topic is a timely one with the legalization of recreational cannabis and the many areas in which municipalities play a role in regulation at the local level.

Procurement Pitfalls and Troublesome Contractors
Recent changes to the trade agreements affecting municipalities and new case law regarding municipalities’ rights to manage or exclude problematic contractors all highlight the need to ensure you have effective procurement policies in place. There are many circumstances where a particular contractor has a history of problems, and the municipality would like to avoid ever working with them again in the future. However, when putting out a tender or request for proposals, the municipality faces a risk that the problematic contractor will come in as the low bidder, potentially forcing the municipality to work with them and go through the same problems yet again.

This session will discuss various ways of addressing that risk, by ensuring the municipality is protected from having to accept bids from those difficult contractors. It will explore policies the municipality can put in place to restrict or disqualify certain contractors from bidding on future work, and provide greater flexibility and control to municipalities when selecting their contractors or service providers in the future.

So Many Choices: How Municipalities Can Provide Services and Operate Facilities
The Municipal Government Act empowers municipalities to provide services and facilities that council considers necessary or desirable for the community. Municipal services and facilities can be provided and operated in a number of ways, at the municipal, intermunicipal, or regional level.

This session will explore a number of possible models for the delivery of services and operation of facilities, with discussion of opportunities for intermunicipal and regional collaboration. Options to be discussed will include non-profit corporations, municipality corporations, and regional services commissions.

Tax Collection (Edmonton Only)
This session will review the options municipalities have for collecting unpaid property taxes (including linear taxes) and a review of recent developments and cases involving municipalities, receiverships, CCAA proceedings and bankruptcies.

The Solution to Spending 85% of Supervisory/Managerial Time on 15% of the Problem Employees: Just Cause, Progressive Discipline and Updates
This session will review performance appraisals, investigations, progressive discipline, and just cause. We will have suggestions on ways to deal with difficult employees and go over updates to the Act.

Working out the Kinks of the Assessment MGA Amendments (Edmonton Only)
Get caught up on recent cases, the implementation of the Modernized Municipal Government Act changes, and the regulation changes yet to come.

Bear Pit
Registrants will have the opportunity to submit legal questions on matters affecting municipalities for discussion by our panel of lawyers.

This year, we will also be offering an optional lunch session on Estate Planning Essentials, presented by RMRF Partner, Maya Gordon. (Edmonton Only)
This working lunch session will give attendees an opportunity to hear about some of the basics of estate planning, including Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, and Personal Directives. This session will include time for questions.