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Town of Blackfalds approves parental leave bylaw

The bylaw follows the Provincial Government’s commitment to updating its Municipal Governance Act

The Town of Blackfalds has shown its progressive spirit once again as it approved the new Parental Leave Bylaw.

As part of the Provincial Government’s commitment to updating its Municipal Governance Act (MGA), the Town has approved leave for those in a governance role.

“The Town of Blackfalds has always attracted strong leaders in governance and we want to continue doing so,” states Mayor Richard Poole, adding, “Town Council recognizes the importance of this bylaw in ensuring opportunities exist to all those interested in municipal politics.”

Advancements in this aspect of the MGA have not been adopted by municipalities within the province as quickly as some of the other areas have been. The Town of Blackfalds is one of the first municipalities, following Sylvan Lake and Edmonton, to bring forward amendments or propose new bylaws for their respective communities.

The Province of Alberta, recognizing the need to update and modernize the MGA, have been undergoing a vigorous review process over the past number of years that have resulted in a number of changes in three key areas of focus including Governance, Planning & Development, and Assessment & Taxation.

These regulation requirements were outlined in a table provided to Council recently which was titled “MGA Modernization Compliance Status Report”.

Included under the Governance component is the requirement respecting Maternity and Paternal Leave (Section 144.1): Municipal Councils now have the authority to pass bylaws with respect to whether or not Councillors are entitled to take leave prior to or after the birth or adoption of a child.

The new requirement under the modernized MGA will assist in removing barriers to citizens wanting to be involved in municipal politics while allowing to attract a more diverse range of candidates to run for Town Council.

Council members can qualify for a 20-week parental leave while in office. Only one leave will be approved per council member per term. They must have been in office for six months prior to being eligible.

For more information about this and other bylaws, visit the Towns website at blackfalds.com

-Submitted by the Town of Blackfalds

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