Council approves Procedure Bylaw, refers Council Code of Conduct

closed session

by Tristan Turner

Council has passed the second reading of two new bylaws related to their normal procedures, their 2018 Procedure Bylaw and their Council Code of Conduct Bylaw. Both motions passed with mostly clarifying questions, and the Procedure Bylaw went on to receive a third reading, with council’s code of conduct bylaw being referred to the Bylaw and Policy Review Committee.

Procedure Bylaw

Council unanimously approved second and third reading of Bylaw 2/2018 – Council’s Procedure Bylaw – with no discussion or debate.

The new legislation clarifies council procedures into law for what is expected of council’s operations and the order for council meetings. It largely codifies the order of council meetings in the past with some minor tweaks, as well as a few amendments to line up the law with changes to the provincial Municipal Governance Act.

During a discussion prompted by Councillor Lawrence Giffin at first reading, an amendment to the bylaw to add language to make it clear that motion arisings would still be permitted after some confusions during council’s discussion a their Mar. 13 meeting.

The law swiftly passed unanimously, with Councillor Giffin moving second reading, and Councillor Hall moving third reading.

Council Code of Conduct

Council will be waiting before committing to a new council code of conduct bylaw following the unanimous referral of Bylaw 1/2018 to the Bylaw and Policy Review Committee. After spending years of using a council code of conduct policy, council unanimously passed first reading of this bylaw on council conduct on Mar. 13. The new legislation would enshrine into law a code of behaviour that councillors will be expected to follow during their duties.

The committee is made up of council and administration, and is open to the public on Apr. 24 at 4:30 PM at Civic Hall.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe made the motion to refer the bylaw to the committee after unanimously passing a motion to give the code second reading. Dafoe noted that the delay was necessary because “there is some wording [in the bylaw] that I think is rather vague. For example: ‘insulting words’ is mentioned in the bylaw. What is the definition of insulting words, and who gets to define that? I’m good with that, but we need to have that conversation…”

Outgoing CAO Andrew Isbister confirmed that it to would be acceptable for council to make the deferral until April, but that council should not wait much longer than that to pass the law in order to be in-line with new provincial requirements, saying: “it is imperative that some point in time before the end of June we pass the Bylaw.”

At first reading, council had some questions about some elements of the law, including confusion about the nature of mandatory training sessions and the legality of some sections of the legislation and that it was in accordance with the municipal governance act.

The motion to refer swiftly passed unanimously after no discussion.

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