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TDC101 TDC Policy and Legislation

Getting Approval

The experience with Transfer of Development Credits and similar programs around the world has shown that, although there are common tasks that need to be undertaken, each program approaches those tasks in a very locally specific  way. It is this creative, place-based interpretation of the Transfer of Development Credits program that ultimately makes them effective.

For this reason, the approval process for a municipal Transfer of Development Credits program in Alberta is based on demonstrating that a series of tasks have been complied with, thus ensuring the basic program needs have been considered. Recognizing the unique nature of each program, the approval criteria outlined in the Alberta Land Stewardship Act is not based on an assessment of performance in these tasks, simply that they have been undertaken.

The Alberta Land Stewardship Act enables the Transfer of Development Credits (TDC) tool for use in Alberta, and directs municipalities to get approval for their program from the Lieutenant Governor in Council (i.e., Cabinet). Likely, the primary mechanism through which a municipality would satisfy the items required under ALSA is the municipal TDC Bylaw, and the steps for approval would involve:

Initially, the Government of Alberta indicated they would be creating a TDC Regulation to further outline what the approval process through Cabinet would look like. As of March 2015, it now appears they will not be releasing a regulation, and will simply govern approvals by what is stated in the Act (the ALSA). During consultations on the Regulation in 2011, the Government materials indicated the approval process would require indicating that the necessary tasks have been undertaken, preparing the required forms and resolutions, timing the application around the municipal TDC Bylaw process, and forwarding the application to the Lieutenant Governor in Council (Cabinet) via the Land Use Secretariat. There’s no reason to anticipate these steps would not lead to an approval, but municipalities should check with the Land Use Secretariat to stay abreast of any current developments.

Approval and Best Practices Checklist

For municipalities seeking to understand what is needed in establishing a Transfer of Development Credits program, there are two sets of considerations. The first is the regulatory requirements, and the second is best practices. For the first, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (Sec. 49) identifies the program components that a municipality must include in order to secure approval from the provincial government for a Transfer of Development Credits program. For the second set of considerations, the Miistakis Institute has compiled a list of valuable steps based on our review of best practices around the continent. This second list is not required to secure approval, but goes a long way to ensuring a TDC program is effective and well supported.

To assist in this process, municipalities can download this simple Approval and Best Practices Checklist. It serves as a quick-glance device to ensure all the requirements under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and best practices considerations have been addressed.


Miistakis Reports

Government of Alberta


Papers and Reports

Web Resources


Support Organizations and Consultants

Alberta Efforts

Did we miss an important resource? If you know of a publication, web site, or other resource that should be here, please contact us.

Also, check out our full list of TDC Resources.