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Frequently Asked Questions About Appearing Before Council as a Delegation
1. How do I get on a Council agenda?
In accordance with section 16.10.1 of the City’s Procedural By-Law to appear as a delegation on the agenda you must submit your request to appear before Council by noon on the Thursday preceding the Council meeting. The request is to be provided to the Clerk’s office at City Hall. You may register by phone, in person, on line, by email or fax. You may also speak as an unregistered delegation at the appropriate time on the agenda.
2. Can I only speak at Council meetings?
What about Committee of the Whole meetings or Planning Committee meetings? You may only register as a delegation at Council meetings. At Planning Committee meetings some items are considered “Public Meetings” under the Planning Act and people may speak to the application at the appropriate time during the meeting. You cannot speak as a delegation at Committee of the Whole meetings.
3. Can I speak about any issue that is of concern to me?
No - you may only speak to items on the agenda. If your issue is not one of the items under consideration you can provide a letter/email to Council or contact Councillors by phone. Please be advised that correspondence becomes part of the public record.
4. What happens at the meeting and when I do get to speak?
Delegations are heard at the commencement of the meeting in the order listed on the agenda. The order is determined by when the delegation was registered - the first registered delegation speaks first. Unregistered delegations are heard after all registered delegations have been completed and in the order determined by the item they are speaking to. Once you have concluded your comments, members of Council will be given an opportunity to ask you questions for clarification so they fully understand your presentation.
5. Who is in charge of the meeting and who will be there?
The Council meeting is an open meeting and members of the public are welcome to attend. You will be making your presentation in front of Council which is composed of the Mayor, who is the head of Council, and ten (10) Councillors. The Mayor chairs the meeting and all comments are to be directed to the Mayor. Delegations shall respect the dignity and decorum of the Council Chambers. Presenters shall use polite and respectful language at all times. I am wondering about my privacy.
6. Will people know I spoke to Council about this issue?
Council meetings are public meetings and the media is also in attendance. Your picture, name, address and comments may appear in the newspaper and on cable TV. Documents submitted to Council are public documents (unless marked otherwise) and become part of the meeting record.
7. How long can I speak for?
A delegation is limited to seven (7) minutes. If you have additional information that cannot be covered in this time, please provide the material in advance to the Clerk (21 copies are required) who will distribute it to Councillors, senior staff and the media.
8. Can a group attend as a delegation?
Your group can request to attend as a delegation and the seven (7) minute limit applies regardless of how many members speak.
9. There are a lot of people wanting to speak about the same issue. Will we all get a chance to provide comments?
The purpose of delegations is to provide information to Council. The public input process should reflect a balance between accessibility to Council and effective use of the meeting time. On an issue where a number of people are commenting, presenters will be asked to provide only new information to permit time for everyone to speak.
10. I have a short video/PowerPoint/slide presentation I would like to present. Can I show it?
You are permitted to make visual presentations. The presentations must be provided to the Clerk’s office by noon on the Thursday prior to the meeting for approval. The Council Chambers are equipped with a laptop and projection system.
11. Where do I present from?
Delegations are requested to present from the podium (if there is a presentation) which is located directly in front of Council. It is important that Councillors and the members in the audience can hear your presentation so please speak into the microphone.
12. I have concerns and want Council to answer my questions. Will they do this at the meeting?
The purpose of your delegation is to provide information to Council. As a delegation you are there to make a presentation. If there is specific information you are looking for please approach the appropriate staff person, or contact individual Council members directly, outside of the meeting.
13. I am concerned about an issue but I don’t want to speak at a Council meeting. How do I let Council know?
You have several options. You can write a letter or send an email to Council as a whole or to individual Councillors. You are always welcome to contact the members of Council by phone with any question or concern you might have. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Clerk’s Office at City Hall. Thank you for your interest in local government!