Position Profile


Job Title:  Legislative Advisor, Assessment and Tax Legislation

Work Unit:  Municipal Services and Legislation Government Services Division, Major Legislative Projects and Strategic Planning Branch

Ministry:  Alberta Municipal Affairs

Competition Number:  1041747

Date:  April 2017
 

Purpose

 

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is the framework in which all municipalities and municipal entities across the province of Alberta operate. The MGA is the governance model for another level of government and it, along with its attendant regulations and other legislation related to municipal grant matters such as the Government Organization Act, works toward ensuring ongoing municipal accountability and sustainability through autonomy and responsibility.

The Legislative Advisor, Assessment Tax Legislation is responsible for working on legislative and regulatory processes and projects and for consulting with affected stakeholders including other departments and other levels of government. The Advisor is also involved in policy development activities and, in some cases, in providing advice and educational materials on issues that affect Alberta municipalities and their residents. Many of these issues are highly sensitive and complex. The primary focus of this position is on the property assessment and tax aspects of municipal legislation and regulations.

The outcomes supported by the Legislative Advisor contribute to the strategic direction of the Division and Ministry by informing the development of priorities, policies, corporate goals and business initiatives. This position leads legislative projects that support an effective assessment and tax framework for municipalities, ensuring that the legislation is current and consistent with modern principles of legislation and Government direction for regulations.

Reporting to the Manager, Assessment and Tax Legislation, the Legislative Advisor works in the context of the Government's goals, guidelines and policies, the Ministry's policies, business plan, and Regulation Sunset Plan, and related provincial legislation and regulations. Within this framework, the Legislative Advisor monitors and reviews assessment and tax legislation and regulations, and where appropriate, helps develop proposals for changes to ensure their relevancy and currency for local governments so that they can operate successfully and maintain healthy communities. Throughout this work, the Legislative Advisor is a key legislative resource for other units in the division, and a leader in the processes involved in the management of complex legislative projects.

Responsibilities and Activities

  1.

General Statutory Review and Support to the Municipal Government Act Review.

The Municipal Government Act and other legislation including assessment and tax provisions that are under the responsibility of the MAG Division are reviewed for ongoing relevancy and currency.

This outcome is achieved by:

  • Assisting Division program areas in carrying out consultation processes with the appropriate stakeholders, which usually include individual municipalities and municipal associations (particularly the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, and the Alberta Assessor's Association), and which may include ratepayers groups, business groups, law firms, MLAs, and other Government Ministries to obtain feedback. Interpret, clarify and help weigh the feedback from the affected stakeholders in resolving issues.
  • Conduct research and develop briefing materials, options and recommendations on proposed changes to legislation for review by senior management and the Minister, and participating in policy discussions and the development of policy proposals for the consideration of the Minister and other decision makers.
  • Maintaining currency in assessment and tax issues and trends in municipalities by monitoring issues that involve pressures to change municipal legislation, and advise the Manager about any significant problems (actual or perceived), any major increase in stakeholders concerns, or any major shift in stakeholder positions related to these issues on a timely basis.
  • Providing or helping to provide comments on other legislative options regarding private members' bills where the bill affects municipalities and/or the department.
  • Participate on several working groups as part of the review of the Municipal Government Act, and provide legislative assessment and tax perspective to the policy paper process.
  • Preparation of, or assistance in the preparation of, documentation such as drafting instructions and comments on subsequent drafts for Legislative Counsel, Minister's Reports, three-column documents for Operations Committee and Caucus presentations, and speaking notes for the sponsoring MLA.
     
  2.

Regulation Maintenance and Development:

Regulations related to assessment and tax policy and operations that are under the responsibility of the MAG Division are reviewed for ongoing relevancy and currency. New regulations or amending regulations are developed ensuring that the regulation framework for municipalities continues to be clear, fair, consistent, and appropriate to current circumstances.

This outcome is achieved by:

  • Monitoring and anticipating expiry dates and review timelines for regulations, including working collaboratively with Division program areas to ensure that the regulations continue to meet program and stakeholder needs.
  • As with statutory reviews, collaborate with program areas to carry out meaningful stakeholder engagement on potential amendments to existing regulations or the development of new regulations.
  • As with statutory reviews, conduct research and develop briefing materials, options and recommendations on proposed changes to regulations for review by senior management and the Minister, and participating in policy discussions and the development of policy proposals for the consideration of the Minister and other decision makers.
  • As with statutory reviews, maintaining currency in assessment and tax issues and trends in municipalities by monitoring issues that involve pressures to change municipal legislation, and advise the Manager about any significant problems (actual or perceived), any major increase in stakeholders concerns, or any major shift in stakeholder positions related to these issues on a timely basis.
  • Preparation of documentation such as drafting instructions and comments on subsequent drafts for Legislative Counsel, Ministerial Orders, Recommendation for Order in Councils, three-column documents for Operations Committee, speaking notes for the sponsoring MLA, and Regulation Impact Reports or the exemption requests for the Regulatory Review Secretariat.
  • Identify the necessary preconditions (such as stakeholder input, the reports, or the recommendations that are needed before certain regulations can be approved) to be fulfilled on a timely basis. This may include helping prepare new regulations under the Municipal Government Act to address critical and sensitive issues on an urgent basis.
     
  3.

Communication and Stakeholder Outreach:

Ministry colleagues and internal and external stakeholders are well-informed about the rationale for and effect of changes to legislation and regulations. This results in stronger collaboration with stakeholders, and a more comprehensive understanding of legislation and legislative processes.

This outcome is achieved by:

  • Providing or assisting in providing verbal and/or written analysis and advice on issues regarding proposed changes to municipal legislation and regulations in consultation with affected parties. The responses may range from direct telephone replies to drafting correspondence for the Minister to helping prepare information packages on new legislative and regulatory initiatives. This may also include presentations to and/or meetings with affected parties to explain the proposed changes and their potential impacts on behalf of senior departmental management.
  • Preparing or helping to prepare correspondence, briefing notes, and occasionally reports to respond to questions on legislation or regulations for senior management or the Minister, or less frequently for other Ministers or MLA's. Preparing this material may require consulting with stakeholders to ensure that all the necessary information is provided and the message is clear and consistent.
  • Preparing presentations regarding proposed changes to the municipal legislation and regulations. This includes presentations for audiences such as the Alberta Assessor's Association, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, the Alberta Rural Municipal Administrators Association, the Local Government Administration Association, and the Alberta Association of Municipal Clerks.
  • Representing or helping to represent the Branch or Unit on various departmental, interdepartmental, or intergovernmental committees and/or various multi-disciplinary project teams that address issues with provincial or municipal implications, and contribute to the activities of other units, municipal associations, professional groups, and/or other organizations where this participation contributes to the achievement of departmental objectives and/or to the improvement of relations with municipalities.
  • Review or help review and prepare or help prepare comments on other departments' legislative, regulatory, program and policy initiatives and their impacts on municipalities and/or Municipal Affairs to senior management for departmental response.
     
  4.

Policy Analysis and Advice:

Legislative projects are informed by a comprehensive understanding of current policy trends and recent policy decisions. This results in projects that are consistent with the strategic direction of the Ministry.

This outcome is achieved by:

  • Maintaining currency in Government of Alberta policy processes and procedures as well as current trends in policy (such as competitiveness or increased policy integration).
  • Conducting or helping to conduct background research and analysis, including obtaining required stakeholder input.
  • Identifying and helping to evaluate sensitive issues and proposals, including helping to identify non-legislative solutions to introduce policy change.
  • Preparing or helping to prepare reports, recommendations, and briefing materials, and helping to present them to senior management and/or external stakeholders.
  • Implementing or helping to implement approved recommendations or proposals with department officials, affected local governments and/or other affected stakeholders.
  • Helping develop or review policies where legislative or regulation changes have been proposed but are inadvisable or unfeasible, or where legislative or regulation changes only address part of the issue.

Scope

 

There is opportunity for independent action in most aspects of the work. The position is required to participate and make suggestions on various aspects of legislative and regulatory reviews or other projects to other team members to assist in the project and demonstrate developmental accomplishments. Over time, the incumbent will be expected to anticipate issues, develop a position and act more independently.

Legislative work requires a degree of creativity and innovation so that projects are completed within timelines in a manner that satisfies the key requirements of the main stakeholders and the policy requirements of the Government. In many cases, legislative or regulatory solutions are required for unique circumstances such as the regulation allowing for the Capital Region Board.

Legislative work often occurs in a politically charged environment, and this can affect the relationship the department has with local governments, administrators, and/or other provincial departments as well as resource allocations. Policy activities in which the Advisor is involved are often sensitive in nature and involve a great deal of consultation with municipalities, affected associations, and internally with other units in the department.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

 

The Advisor requires knowledge of:

  • the Municipal Government Act and its regulations with specific emphasis on property assessment and tax issues,
  • the Government Organization Act, and associated Municipal Affairs Grants Regulation, Financial Administration Act, Fiscal Management Act, and School Act.
  • the Government of Alberta's legislative and regulatory processes,
  • municipal legislation administered by the department,
  • municipal operations and administration, with focus on property assessment and taxation experience and some grants knowledge and exposure,
  • Ministry's policies and Business Plan - defines the department's goals and strategies and business practices.
  • All statutes and regulations administered by Local Government Services Division - provides the main focus and scope of work in the Unit.

The Advisor requires experience with:

  • Research,
  • developing relationships both internally and externally,
  • consultation processes
  • project management techniques,
  • carrying out research and analytical work with limited supervision; and
  • participating as a team member, providing support to and working closely with more senior staff on larger or more demanding projects.

The Advisor also requires strong organization, analytical, written and oral communication, and presentation skills.

Contacts

Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact
Internal

Minister, Deputy Minister, and Assistant Deputy Minister

Weekly/Monthly

Advise, or assist on advising, on emerging issues and critical issues that may require immediate attention of senior management, and to receive direction in order to move forward or complete projects, and to mitigate critical issues. Clarify legislation or issues as they arise, or when requested by senior management or the Minister (e.g. meeting directly with a municipal delegation at an annual association conference).

Executive Director and Director

Daily/Weekly

Obtain background information, direction and timelines related to the departmental projects, issues, action requests, and other duties. Also, advise on upcoming issues, the status of projects, and other matters that may require management input.

MSL and MAG Staff

Daily

Model impacts of proposed program and/or legislative changes. As required, prepare Ministerial Orders and Orders in Council for the Division. Participate on project teams related to legislative change. Collaborate with department staff on legislative and regulatory impacts/options related to assessment and tax legislation matters.

Communications

Weekly

Work with communications consultants to finalize speaking points, Q&As and strategic communication plans.

Legal Services

Weekly

Work with legal services to ensure the legislation under development is sound and complementary to law already in force.

Corporate Strategic Services

Weekly

To ensure that legislative projects are in accordance with the corporate requirements for legislation, and are following the appropriate procedures.

External

Alberta Justice

Daily/Weekly

Consult with Legislative Counsel staff regarding the drafting of proposed legislation and regulations, amendments to existing regulations and legislation, and preparation of Orders in Council. Obtain legal advice from the department's Legal Services relative to specific legislation and regulations, Ministerial Orders, Orders in Council, and action requests on issues related to assessment and taxation or other municipal issues.

Regulatory Review Secretariat

Daily/Weekly

Consult with regulatory review staff on Regulation Impact Reports and Exemption Requests.

Other provincial departments as required

Weekly/Monthly

Consult regarding program impacts on local governments. This includes the shadowing of specific departments in order to monitor that proposed legislative changes and new programs do not conflict with existing departmental legislation and initiatives.

Municipal Elected Officials, Municipal Appointed Officials, Municipal Associations, Professional Associations, General Public

Monthly

Discuss or assist with consulting with municipal officials regarding their legislative and regulatory issues and concerns, proposed legislation, and on their resolutions presented to respective municipal or professional associations.

Consult, or assist with consulting and advising on new and proposed legislation and its impacts on effective administrative and management practices.

Collaborate, or assist in collaborating on updating and improving municipal legislation and regulations, including its restructuring and effective delivery, and consult on proposed legislative change with the municipal associations as key stakeholders.

When assigned, advise and provide information on proposed and recent changes to relevant legislation and regulations, advise on legislative change processes, and collaborate on issues of restructuring specific legislation.

Consult and present, or assist in presenting and providing information on legislative and regulatory matters and proposed changes to relevant legislation, and how it may impact individual citizens and their local governments.

Supervision Exercised

 

This position has no direct reports; however, there is opportunity for the incumbent to supervise/mentor other staff members, and consultants, where appropriate, with respect to assigned projects. There is a real need for teamwork in legislative projects, and the incumbent must be able to work with other staff and consultants to attain specified goals and deadlines without relying on excessive detailed instructions.


 

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