Town of Canmore

Actions Taken by the Town of Canmore in Response to Covid-19

We continue to implement many initiatives in order to align with the guidance we receive from both provincial and local health authorities and to ensure that we are protecting our community. 

Updated June 21, 2021


The Mandatory Mask Bylaw was in place between August 7, 2020 and July 6, 2021 and compelled residents, visitors, and businesses to wear a mask or face covering in all public indoor settings as well as when they were outside in a line-up at any retail or food establishment.  

Municipal Facilities

We are very proud of the safe environment that we are providing in our municipal facilities. Our attention to implementing health and safety protocols has meant that there hasn’t been any known spread of COVID-19 within our facilities. All of our facilities have re-opened to the public. Visit Contact Us for details. 

Financial Actions

We know that many Canmore residents have been significantly impacted by Covid-19 through job loss, business closure, and other factors.  We are taking action to help our community financially.

Lower 2020 Property Taxes and Extended Payment Deadlines
For 2020, we reduced staffing and service levels, cut expenses, canceled several capital projects, and reduced reserve transfers in the 2020 Operating Budget to lower the overall municipal 2020 tax requirement to 2019 levels to achieve the following outcomes:
  • Maintain essential services and business continuity, including budgeting $470,000 for new costs associated with the response to the pandemic
  • Provide departmental expenditure reductions to help mitigate losses in revenue
  • Allow for scalability of operations post-pandemic
  • Provide increased social and economic development supports for those individuals and businesses most impacted by the pandemic
  • Maintain a strong balance in the Tax Stabilization Reserve to provide the flexibility needed to address future uncertainties as well as known future cost increases.
The 2020 tax payment deadline was extended from June 30 to September 30 without any late payment penalties. Council approved relief measures to allow residents and businesses to defer tax and utility payments in April, May, and June without penalty or interest.

How was the 2020 budget reduced?

The following capital projects have been cancelled or reduced in scope, resulting in a reduced transfer to reserves of $1,225,000.  It’s important to note that ultimately all of these projects will be required to proceed at some point in the future to achieve Council’s priorities and objectives of the strategic plan.

  • Street Rehab Railway Avenue
  • Town Centre Enhancement Plan 
  • Affordable Housing Land and Policies 
  • Land Use Bylaw Update 
  • Visitor Accommodation Review 
  • Light Fleet Replacement
  • Roundhouse Solar System
Almost half of the budget reductions came from staffing reductions. During building closures, we adjusted staffing levels, affecting approximately 146 people (more than 40% of the Town of Canmore's employees), including laying off 118 people. In closing some facilities, we have made staffing reductions in the recreation department: 93 casual and contract recreation staff were laid off effective March 23, which has reduced our payroll expenses by approximately $60K/month and 23 permanent recreation staff (both full and part-time), which has reduced our payroll expenses by approximately $110K/month. Most staff were recalled with the opening of the buildings in July and August. As well, we suspended hiring for five months and have rescinded offers to most seasonal staff.

We will keep grant-funded projects going – many of our infrastructure projects are grant funded by different levels of government.  Delaying these projects typically means losing the funding.  Proceeding has several benefits:  we keep the funding, we keep people in our community working, and we can take advantage of quiet time in town to complete disruptive projects. However, not all spending is being reduced; we are investing in the community by providing increased social and economic development supports for those individuals and businesses most impacted by the pandemic. Council directed administration to find additional ways to support individuals and businesses that will not be assisted by a reduction in taxes.  Since the Town of Canmore has been building our Tax Stabilization Reserve for many years, we are able to fund these unexpected initiatives.

Expense and Service Level Reductions

$2.7 million

Staff layoffs & hiring freezes

$1.3 million

Recreation and Facilities programs, services, expenses


Arts & Events programs, services, expenses


Bylaw programs, services, expenses


Streets & Parks programs, services, expenses


Carryover of projects from 2019, not being completed


Rest of the organization programs, service, expenses


State of Local Emergency

Has the Town of Canmore declared a state of emergency?
The State of Local Emergency was declared on March 25 and was terminated on June 3, as it was no longer required as we manage the ongoing response to the pandemic.   
What does declaring a state of local emergency mean?
The Emergency Management Act outlines the powers of a local authority when a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) is declared. You can read the whole act here. 

A summary of the powers that declaring a SOLE provide us as per the act is as follows:

  1. cause any emergency plan or program to be put into operation;
  2. acquire or utilize any real or personal property considered necessary to mitigate the emergency; (must pay compensation)
  3. authorize or require any qualified person to render aid of a type the person is qualified to provide;
  4. control or prohibit travel within the municipality; (not to the municipality)
  5. provide for the restoration of essential facilities and the distribution of essential supplies and provide,
  6. maintain and co-ordinate emergency medical, welfare and other essential services in any part of the municipality;
  7. order the evacuation from any area within the municipality and make arrangements for the adequate care and protection of those persons evacuated
  8. authorize the entry into any building or on any land, without a warrant, by any person in the course of implementing an emergency plan or program;
  9. cause the demolition or removal of any trees, structures or crops if the demolition or removal is necessary or appropriate in order to reach the scene of a disaster, or to attempt to forestall its occurrence or to combat its progress; (must pay compensation for damages)
  10. procure or fix prices for food, clothing, fuel, equipment, medical supplies, or other essential supplies and the use of any property, services, resources or equipment within the municipality for the duration of the state of local emergency;
  11. authorize the conscription of persons needed to meet an emergency.

Other Town of Canmore Services and Facilities

Can I still access Town of Canmore services?
Town of Canmore business continues: garbage and recycling will be collected, roads and water treatment facilities are well-maintained, bylaws are being enforced, FCSS supports are being provided and bills are being paid. Please remember, even if some of our buildings are closed, we are open for business. We are available to provide services online or by phone. Many Town of Canmore services and information can be found online: Utility Payments     Property Tax Payment Options    Online Services and Electronic Notifications  Planning Department Questions  Bylaw Services  All other areas: Contact Us
How can the public attend upcoming Council meetings?
As of March 27, during the COVID-19 health emergency, the Municipal Government Act allows Council meetings to be held completely electronically. The public can watch the Live Webcast instead of attending the meeting in-person. Visit Connect with Council for ways to submit questions, comments, and requests to Council through a variety of mechanisms. 
Who do I call for help or questions?
You can call 403.609.3743 for appointments for social or family supports, and 403.678.1500 for all other inquiries or appointments. You can also submit a request for an appointment by using our online form here.


Can I still host my event or wedding in Canmore? 
The Government of Alberta has released restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

All weddings must follow the Government of Alberta's restriction on gatherings. Information about wedding bookings can be found here.

Please note that wedding photographers are still required to have a business license and can find more information about temporary licenses here

Town of Canmore events are currently planned to encourage individual participation and avoid large gatherings.

The Town of Canmore is located within Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge the Canmore area, known as “Chuwapchipchiyan Kudi Bi” (translated in Stoney Nakoda as “shooting at the willows”) and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Îyârhe Nakoda (Stoney Nakoda) – comprised of the Bearspaw First Nation, Chiniki First Nation, and Goodstoney First Nation – as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3, within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. We acknowledge all Nations who live, work, and play and help us steward this land and honour and celebrate this territory. We commit to working to live in right relations and to advance Truth and Reconciliation.

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