Oakville is making it faster and easier to do business with Council

Wed, 27 Nov 2019

In an effort to make it easier and more convenient for the public to participate in local government, Oakville Town Council approved a revised Council and Committee structure that simplifies the Council meeting process so delegations only have to appear before Council once, rather than twice as it happens now with Standing Committee first, followed by Council.

“We want it to be easy for members of the public to come speak to us at Council, and for staff to bring forward reports for our discussion and decision,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “This new streamlined structure will make for quicker decision-making and less confusion.”

The current structure sees most matters initially addressed at either the Administrative Services Committee (ASC) or the Community Services Committee (CSC) meeting. These standing committees of Council review specific issues as identified in their mandates and provide recommendations to Council for its final approval at a separate meeting. In this case, staff have to present at both a standing committee and a council meeting. The same applies to members of the public who want to be heard (delegate) on an issue.

At last Monday’s meeting, Town Council decided to discontinue the ASC and CSC as of January 1, 2020 in favour of having all matters go directly to Council. In addition, the Livable Oakville Council Sub-Committee which provides input and guidance to staff on studies, public consultation and draft recommendations regarding Official Plan Review matters, was also discontinued. These matters will go forward directly to Planning and Development Council, which will continue to operate in its current structure with meetings scheduled once a month beginning at 7 p.m. The only standing committee remaining is the Budget Committee which will continue to be held separately, reporting to Council with its recommendations.

Highlights and benefits of the new structure include:

  • Decisions can be made by all of Council at one meeting, rather than half of Council debating at committee meeting, and then waiting for the full Council to endorse at a second meeting.
  • Members of the public would only have to come out to one meeting instead of two.
  • Delegation requests will be taken in advance and at the meeting.
  • Delegations will now be able to hear from staff and make presentations when a matter is dealt with on the agenda, rather than having to speak at the beginning of a Council meeting and then wait for the item to be discussed.
  • Council would still retain the necessary rights of postponing a decision (deferral) or reconsidering a previous decision to ensure an avenue for second thought when necessary.
  • As is the current practice, additional special Council meetings may still be scheduled by Mayor and Council as required.
  • Council meetings will be held monthly and start at 6:30 p.m.
  • The public can continue to watch all Council meetings via live stream on the town’s YouTube channel. 

Council meetings take place in Council Chamber at Town Hall, located at 1225 Trafalgar Road. For more details, read the Council Governance and 2020 Meeting Schedule staff report (item #3 on the November 18, 2019 Council Agenda).