Procedural By-law Review

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Consultation has concluded.

County Council approved a new procedural by-law on February 8, 2022. Click here to view the new by-law

Every municipality in the province of Ontario must have a procedural by-law. The procedural by-law governs the way that Council and board/committee meetings run. The by-law includes rules for how municipal meetings are called, who is involved, where they happen, and how they proceed. This by-law also guides residents' interactions with Council, the conduct of Council, and the way the municipality communicates about meetings.

The County is updating its current procedural by-law to ensure it best supports the good governance of the municipality and aligns with provincial legislation.

County staff have worked with consultants Amberley Gavel to conduct a thorough review of the procedural by-law and propose a number of changes. Now we would like your feedback on the proposed changes.

Why should I care? 

You should be able to expect transparent, accessible and legislatively sound proceedings at Council and committee meetings. A good procedural by-law will lay the groundwork for that to happen.

The procedural by-law guides the ways that you, as a resident, can interact with Council and committees through formal meetings. It tells us how Council and the public are expected to conduct themselves through meetings. It also guides the way that County staff communicate information about municipal meetings to the public. It is an important tool that supports good governance by elected and appointed officials in the municipality.

Have your say

Below you will find the changes grouped into four themes along with comments and questions from the public that were submitted prior to the submission deadline of Friday, January 14.

County staff will consider public feedback before finalizing a new procedural by-law for Council's consideration in February 2022.

Every municipality in the province of Ontario must have a procedural by-law. The procedural by-law governs the way that Council and board/committee meetings run. The by-law includes rules for how municipal meetings are called, who is involved, where they happen, and how they proceed. This by-law also guides residents' interactions with Council, the conduct of Council, and the way the municipality communicates about meetings.

The County is updating its current procedural by-law to ensure it best supports the good governance of the municipality and aligns with provincial legislation.

County staff have worked with consultants Amberley Gavel to conduct a thorough review of the procedural by-law and propose a number of changes. Now we would like your feedback on the proposed changes.

Why should I care? 

You should be able to expect transparent, accessible and legislatively sound proceedings at Council and committee meetings. A good procedural by-law will lay the groundwork for that to happen.

The procedural by-law guides the ways that you, as a resident, can interact with Council and committees through formal meetings. It tells us how Council and the public are expected to conduct themselves through meetings. It also guides the way that County staff communicate information about municipal meetings to the public. It is an important tool that supports good governance by elected and appointed officials in the municipality.

Have your say

Below you will find the changes grouped into four themes along with comments and questions from the public that were submitted prior to the submission deadline of Friday, January 14.

County staff will consider public feedback before finalizing a new procedural by-law for Council's consideration in February 2022.

Discussions: All (4) Open (0)
  • Encouraging More Efficient Meetings

    12 months ago
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    Goal: To ensure that meetings are conducted in an efficient way that respects the contributions of official participants, the public and staff.

    Proposed changes:

    • A section regarding communication devices has been added. The clause prohibiting communicating with any other person electronically has been removed from the decorum section.
    • A new proposed process has been added whereby Council appoints at the beginning of each year of the term an Acting Mayor(s) for all or part of the term.
    • The addition of a three-hour time limit for all meetings.
    • Deputations limited to three per meeting. (Deputations are formal presentations up to 10 minutes in length, and would be limited to 3 per meeting, booked 4 days in advance. The revised procedural by-law continues to allow Comments from the Audience, which are less formal, up to 3 minutes in length (up to 30 minutes of comments per meeting) and can be booked up until noon on the day prior to a meeting.)
    • Deputation requests as well as deputation materials must be submitted four working days prior to the preferred meeting.
    • Electronic participation permitted for deputations.
    • Order of business updated so that closed meetings happen before open meetings of Council. 
    • The addition of a consent agenda.
    • The addition of a section whereby council members can indicate their intent to place an item on the agenda.
    • The process for reconsidering an item is simplified. Reconsideration is only permitted twice per year on an specific matter.
    • Members are able to ask only one question of a matter with permission for follow-up.
    • The role of the presiding officer is strengthened.
    • The addition of a provision for working groups and clarification advisory committees and their relationship to Council.

    We welcome your comments on the proposed changes. Are there any other changes that you believe would advance this goal?

  • Improving Transparency

    12 months ago
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    Goal: To support the municipality in being more clear, consistent and open in the conduct and communication of meetings.

    Proposed changes:

    • The general section of the by-law has been re-written in plain language without changing the intent. 
    • The addition of "designate" after Clerk when Clerk is not at a meeting. 
    • Clarification that the by-law and its provisions apply to all local boards and advisory committees.
    • A new process has been added whereby Council appoints at the beginning of each year of the term an Acting Mayor(s) for all or part of the term.
    • Notice of Meeting provisions have been strengthened.
    • Added a process of filling out a form
    • Clerk's Office staff will maintain a registry of disclosures of pecuniary statements filed at Meetings, recorded in the minutes and posted to website 
    • Agendas will be published three working days prior to meetings instead from two working days.
    • Recorded votes permitted at all meetings.
    • The addition of a section of the agenda that allows for presentations from staff, consultants, senior levels of government, and other organizations. 
    • The addition of a section whereby council members can indicate their intent to place an item on the agenda, and communicate that intent in the announcement section 
    • The process for reconsidering an item is simplified. Reconsideration is only permitted twice per year on an specific matter.
    • The role of the presiding officer is strengthened.
    • The addition of a provision for working groups and clarification of their relationship to Council.

    We welcome your comments on the proposed changes. Are there any other changes that you believe would advance this goal?

  • Aligning with Legislation

    12 months ago
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    Goal: To meet relevant legislative requirements and adapt to changing legislative context

    Proposed changes:

    • Meetings can be held at other venues besides Shire Hall as well as electronically.
    • Definition of "Inaugural" is updated to mean "first meeting of Council after a regular election."
    • Notice of Meeting provisions have been strengthened.
    • The addition of a provision that allows for emergency meetings when there is an urgent or extraordinary reason that threatens life or property.
    • Clerk's Office staff will maintain a registry of pecuniary statements filed and declarations recorded for public inspection and posted to website.
    • Added the capability for members participate electronically with language permitting voting and counting towards quorum
    • Recorded votes permitted at all meetings.
    • Strengthening the waiving of provisions section so that it is clear that the suspension will only apply to the procedures or rules that are stated within the motion. 
    • The addition of a section whereby council members can indicate their intent to place an item on the agenda.
    • The process for reconsidering an item is simplified. Reconsideration is only permitted twice per year on an specific matter.

    We welcome your comments on the proposed changes. Are there any other changes that you believe would advance this goal?

  • Advancing Inclusion and Accessibility

    12 months ago
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    Goal: To promote inclusion and accessibility in municipal meetings and documents

    Proposed changes:

    • A provision added noting that files will be presented  to meet the requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and comply with the standards outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.
    • Updates to the by-law so that it is written in plain, gender neutral language.
    • Authority to permit closed meetings to occur before regular Council at 7 pm.
    • Continuing practice of closed meetings at the end of Committee of the Whole meetings.

    We welcome your comments on the proposed changes. Are there any other changes that you believe would advance this goal?