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Protocols for Public Meetings

The purpose of the City’s public meeting or briefing session is to provide the Chair(s), Co-Chairs, or members of a committee (“the Chair”), the opportunity to seek feedback and further clarification of representations and submissions that have been received in response to a public notice requesting written public commentary on a specific application or matter. Unless otherwise noted, the focus of the meeting is specific to the matter at hand and is not a public forum for matters that are not directly related to the meeting before the Committee.

1. All persons must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard or to file written submissions.

2. As this is a public meeting, all names and comments will be on the public record unless otherwise requested by the individual that the comment not be attributed to the individual for privacy reasons.

3. Invitations to speak at the meeting are at the discretion of the Chair.

4. Individuals who wish to make an oral presentation in addition to their written submission are requested to advise the Committee in their written response to the public notice.

5. All persons who attend the meeting will be requested to sign an attendance sheet.

6. Each speaker will be allowed up to seven minutes to address the Chair.

7. The Chair may respond or ask or answer questions, but will not engage the speaker in debate on the merits of the issue.

8. Speakers who are asked a question will have up to three minutes to respond orally, and may also submit a response of up to four pages within one week after the date of the meeting.

9. Speakers must:

a) not speak disrespectfully about anyone;
b) not use offensive language;
c) speak only about the subject at hand to help the Chair fulfill its mandate, and not about perceived conflicts of interest, or other collateral matters; and
d) obey any ruling by the Chair.

10. If a speaker or member of the audience is disrupting a meeting, the Chair will request the individual to speak to the matter at hand without disrupting the meeting and advise that to continue to do so will result in a recess of the meeting. If the disruption continues after the meeting is reconvened, the Chair may adjourn and conclude the meeting and request those individuals who did not have an opportunity to address the Chair to submit a written response within a week of the meeting.

11. Where there are multiple requests to speak from persons who in the opinion of the Chair are either acting in concert, or who have essentially the same point to make, the Chair reserves the
right to hear public presentations from only one person representing that group. The selected representative will be allowed up to seven minutes to address the Chair to make the representative presentation.

12. All communications about a matter on the agenda will become part of the official record of the meeting’s proceedings.

13. Those individuals who have made written or oral presentations to the Chair at the meeting or within one week of the meeting shall be advised in writing of the date when the matter will be  considered by Council. The Council’s decision will then be communicated in writing to those individuals who made written or oral presentations at the meeting.

14. The following rules for conduct will govern the proceedings:

a) the only people allowed in the Chair’s seating area during a meeting are the Chair, Co-Chairs, Committee members and technical advisors;

b) no one may display signs or placards, applaud debating participants, or engage in conversation or other behaviour that may disrupt a meeting;

c) no one except the Chair may place any material on the Chair’s desk unless requested to do so by the Chair;

d) no one may distribute any material directly to members during a meeting;

e) no one may use a cellular telephone during a meeting, and anyone who brings one to a meeting must turn off the ringer;

f) the proceedings of the meeting may not be recorded electronically by anyone other than the Chair or the Chair’s technical advisors;

g) notes of the meeting will be prepared and will be available to the public once the notes are received by Council at a public meeting of Council; and

h) the order in which speakers are invited to make a presentation shall be determined by the Chair.

Approved by Council: April 5, 2016