Regional Evaluation Framework (REF) Overview

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board uses the Regional Evaluation Framework (REF) to implement its Growth Plan. Under the REF, the Board reviews and approves statutory plans and amendments from its 13 municipal members to ensure regional planning decisions are coordinated and consistent with the direction and intent of the integrated Growth Plan. 

See all REF Applications in Documents and Resources

View pending and approved REF Applications from across the Edmonton Metropolitan Region on our interactive GIS Map.

REF Application Process

Pre-application resources

EMRB Consultation:

Please send all inquiries, REF applications, and appeals to
Administrative Process Overview
  • Criteria for submitting a statutory plan or statutory plan amendment
  • Submit REF Application at any time after Council’s first reading of the proposed bylaw and before third reading
  • EMRB Administration determines the completeness of the application according to the criteria established in Section 5.2 of the REF
  • Within 25 working days of the plan or amendment being deemed complete, EMRB Administration submits a report and recommendation to the Board to either approve or reject
  • REF consultants are contracted to provide an independent evaluation of the application in accordance with the Growth Plan
  • Evaluation report required approximately half way through the 25 working day period
  • EMRB Administration prepares the report and provides a recommendation within the 25 working day period
  • To prepare the recommendation deliberations may include the Project Manager – Regional Projects, the Chief Executive Officer and the Board Chair
  • EMRB Administration is not bound by the third-party evaluation
  • Ministerial Order requires a recommendation be made by EMRB Administration to either approve or reject the application
  • A EMRB Administration recommendation for approval of an application stands as the final decision if there is no appeal
  • Any member municipality can appeal an application decision; the appeal period is 28 days from the date of the posting to the EMRB website
  • If there is an appeal, the REF application is referred to the Board for a decision
  • If EMRB Administration recommends an application be rejected, it is referred directly to the Board and placed on the next EMRB meeting agenda
  • A decision by the Board, or an unappealed EMRB Administration recommendation to approve a REF, is final and not subject to further appeal
  • A municipality may withdraw its REF application after submission
  • Typically this is done when the municipality decides more can be done to strengthen the application
  • EMRB Administration records the application as ‘withdrawn’; the applicant municipality can resubmit the application at any time
  • The EMRB considers resubmissions as a new application