The Premier of Ontario has declared a province-wide state of emergency and issued a stay-at-home order in response to rising COVID-19 variant infection rates.
The Corporation of the Town of Oakville (town) supports the use of social media to enhance two-way communications with the community. This procedure establishes guidelines and standards for the acceptable use of the town’s social media sites as well as guidelines and standards for town staff participating in external online social media sites when it relates to discussing, sharing or commenting on town business.
This procedure applies to all town and any program-specific social media sites as well as to Members of Council and town staff discussing town business on any external non-town online social media site.
Social media are powerful communications tools that can create immediate and widespread social interaction. These tools are highly accessible and easy-to-use and because they often blur the lines between the professional and personal life, they can have a significant impact on both organizational and individual reputations. Examples of social media include LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
Staff must ensure that town-owned social media sites:
Official town social media sites must not be used to promote individual political opinions or campaigns.
The following guidelines should be applied to both personal and corporate use of social media.
The town engages the public through websites such as oakville.ca and oakvilletransit.ca, Facebook and Twitter to promote open and meaningful two-way communications.
All posts to the town’s social media are monitored. If a submission violates these guidelines it will be removed in its entirety from the site, or town staff will contact the social media platform to request the post be deleted where a user fails to remove it. Users will be blocked if they continue to post messages that violate these guidelines or fail to delete abusive, profane, derogatory or offensive posts.
If any user believes a submission to any town social media site violates these guidelines, they are encouraged to report it immediately to the town.
Members of Council may participate in social media of their own accord, respecting their Code of Conduct. Members of Council are welcome to like/follow official town sites and are encouraged to share content that has already been officially posted to the town’s website. The town’s official sites will not share/retweet political content.
Under Council’s Code of Conduct and the town’s communications procedure, the Mayor is the official spokesperson for Town Council and this will also apply to social media. As the Head of Council, the Mayor will reflect the position taken by Town Council on any specific issue.
Members of Council should clearly identify where they are expressing personal views, and not necessarily the views of the town.
For the most part, comments and messages posted to the town’s official social media sites are considered transitory records and will not be kept as a permanent record by the Town of Oakville. Information specifically collected as part of an official town public engagement exercise will be kept in accordance with town policy.
At the discretion of the town, any information, photos or videos that are shared or posted to an official town social media account may be reproduced by the town for promotional and other purposes with the appropriate permissions and acknowledgement of the source.
Comments and messages solicited by the town and collected for the public record using social media will be treated like any other form of communications received by the town and will be subject to the provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
A violation of this procedure by a Member of Council or an employee is a serious matter and may result in disciplinary action.
Online communications – the exchange of information through the use of the Internet for any purpose (information sharing, marketing, public engagement)
Personal information – means recorded information about an identifiable person as defined by the MFIPPA
Social media – online communities that facilitate two-way sharing of information. Popular examples include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube
Transitory record – means a record that has temporary usefulness and is only required for the completion of a routine action, or until superseded
Procedure Number: G-COM-002-002
Parent Policy: G-COM-002
Author: Strategy, Policy and Communications
Effective Date: 2019 Sep 24
Review by Date: 2023
G-BRD-002-005 Code of Conduct for Members of Local Boards and Advisory Committees
Ontario Human Rights Code
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005