Floodplain management policy (FMP) implementation and change involve a range of actors and opportunities for power to be exercised. Considering four different conceptualizations of power, this paper explores the actors and instances where power emerges in FMP implementation and change, using Alberta, Canada, as our focus. We consider which conceptualization is most reflective of the Alberta context. We conclude that all four views of behaviour are relevant here, with some power dynamics between actors more complex than others. Further, these dynamics change over time, and therefore the trade-offs to be made also change. Understanding power relations allows for clearer identification of these trade-offs and, therefore, the potential winners and losers in FMP. We describe strategies for assisting in this process of managing power relations, including information sharing, transparency and actively managing the policy process.