Board and Committee Review

City Council began a review of its current boards and committees in 2023 to identify improvements for policy and processes, enhance the experience for committee members, and enhance the relationship between Council and its committees.

The goals of the review are to make sure:

  • The mandates of boards and committees are relevant to Council’s priorities
  • The roles of boards and committees are an effective use of volunteers’ time and municipal resources 
  • There is adequate communication between Council and its boards and committees
  • The policies and processes for boards and committees comply with legislative requirements and sound practices for governance, such as oversight, and reporting to Council

The boards and committees established by Council provide several important functions for the community, including reviewing development  appeals; providing advice to Council on policies, programming, and services; and adjudicating grant funding applications to community groups.

Council members also sit on several external boards, committees, and commissions. These entities typically have mandates for things such as regional planning, water and wastewater services, affordable housing, and other things. Participating on these entities requires significant time from members of Council. Although these bodies aren’t established by City Council, it is worthwhile to review the City’s participation to ensure that these efforts align with the community’s interests.  

Review phases

The review includes four phases:

  1. The first phase includes developing the bylaw that sets the general requirements and procedures for Council’s committees as well as the code of conduct for committee members. This phase also includes a review of current committees and their mandates.
  2. The second phase includes recommendations to Council to improve processes including recruiting public members, providing administrative and professional support to committees, and enhancing engagement between Council and committees.
  3. The third phase consists of a review of the external boards, committees, and commissions that Council members serve on to ensure the current appointments align with Council priorities and the City’s requirements.
  4. The fourth phase is the implementation of the recommendations approved by Council, such as process and governance changes and other work to support the changes arising from the review.

Review updates

As part of the first phase of the review, Council approved the Council Committee Bylaw in May to come into effect at the beginning of 2024. The bylaw sets out:

  • The types of committees that Council can establish, including the purposes of each type
  • Procedures and expectations for membership and meetings
  • Roles and responsibilities for committee members, administration, and Council members appointed to the board or committee
  • Reporting requirements for council committees
  • A code of conduct for board and committee members

To help inform the review, an online survey was conducted with the public, along with past and current board and committee members, between April 6 and May 5. The survey collected feedback on the public’s awareness of the boards and committees, members’ experiences on boards and committees, and asked for potential improvements for policies, process, and the recruitment of members. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey

At the May 23 and June 27, 2023, meetings, Council approved several recommendations arising from the review. The recommendations aim at making improvements such as enhanced advertising for committee opportunities, adding a mandate process to facilitate communication between the committee and council, providing orientation sessions for committees, and ensuring all committees have a current webpage. The City will begin implementing these recommendations with an expected completion of early 2024.

The review of the City’s appointments to external entities (phase 3) is now underway and is expected to conclude by late fall.