Sections of the Local Governance Act: 63 - 70
Part 6 sets out the provisions relating to the following:
- Schedule for first meeting
- Acts and decisions of council
- Open and closed meetings
- Electronic meetings
- Means of giving notice
New provisions and Intent:
Section 63 of the Local Governance Act addresses the scheduling of the first council meeting following the general election. Previously, the legislation indicated that if the clerk did not fix a date for the first meeting of a council following a municipal election, the first meeting of council would be held on the fourth Monday of May following the election. This has been removed. Subsection 63(2) states that the first meeting of council shall be held no later than June 15, unless a candidate has not been declared elected by that date, in which case, the first meeting shall be held as soon as the circumstances permit after the declaration.
Section 65 addresses quorum requirements for council meetings. A majority of the members of council constitutes a quorum. Note that subsection 65(3) of the Act specifies that quorum does not change as a result of council vacancies. By way of an example illustrating the quorum calculation, if the composition of council is one mayor and five councillors, the total number of council members is six; therefore, quorum is four.
Section 69 addresses electronic meetings. Subject to this section, and a local government’s procedural by-law, members of council are permitted to use electronic means to participate in a council meeting. There are restrictions as to the number of meetings in which council members may participate electronically. A member of council who wishes to participate in a meeting using this means must provide sufficient notice to the clerk. This enables the clerk to provide all relevant documents in a timely fashion and will provide sufficient notice to inform the public. If a council or committee meeting is open to the public, use of an electronic means can only be permitted if a notice to the public is given with specific information in the notice. If a member of council is participating electronically in a closed meeting of council, they must confirm at the beginning of the meeting that they are alone. Members of council who participate using this means are deemed to be present for the council meeting.
Section 70 addresses the means through which notice may be given. Notice may be given by one or more means as outlined in the Act: by newspaper, by radio or television, or posting the notice on the local government’s website. As in the past, the newspaper, radio or television must have general circulation or must broadcast in the local government. In addition, if the local government has given notice using one or more of these methods, it may also post the notice on social media websites. In addition, the notice must be posted in the office of the clerk. This latter requirement has not changed.
As in other areas of the Act, sections have been renumbered and wording has been changed to modernize the language in the Act.