The Role of Council

The Role of Council

Under the creation of the Province of Ontario, municipalities and their Councillors are responsible and accountable for certain matters within their jurisdiction. Such powers are explained in detail in the Municipal Act, as well as many other Acts.

The task at hand for Municipal Council is large. They must represent the wishes and requirements of their citizens to higher levels of government, and they must reflect these requirements in their own forum when making decisions about the future direction of the Municipality. Councils are elected to set Policy and direction.

Roles & Responsibilities

Under Section 224 of The Municipal Act, it is the role of council:

  1. to represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality;
  2. to develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality;
  3. to determine which services the municipality provides;
  4. to ensure that administrative policies, practices and procedures and controllership policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of Council;
  5. to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the municipality;
  6. to maintain the financial integrity of the municipality; and
  7. to carry out the duties of Council under this or any other Act.

No one Member of Council has the authority to make decisions, nor act individually. All decisions that are required to be made by Council MUST be made by the majority and MUST be done by Resolution or By-law. By-Laws and Resolutions can only be passed at a Regular Meeting of Council, or a Special Meeting of Council.

No Resolutions or By-Laws can be passed at committee meetings or Committee of the Whole Meetings, therefore decisions cannot be made at that level, only recommendations.

Role of Head of Council

Under Section 225 of The Municipal Act, it is the role of the head of Council;

  1. to act as chief executive officer of the municipality;
  2. preside over council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively;
  3. to provide leadership to the Council;
  4. 1)    without limiting clause (c), to provide information and recommendations to the council with respect to the role of council described in clauses 224 (d) and (d.1);
  5. to represent the municipality at official functions; and
  6. to carry out the duties of the head of council under this and any other Act.