Special Committee on Governance Consultations
The City is holding 5 public meetings across Toronto in June for residents to discuss and share their ideas about how the public participates in the City’s decision making process.
Share your ideas for decision making in Toronto
Contribute your thoughts in person or by using the City’s online survey: Share your ideas using the Online Survey
In addition to the formal Special Committee on Governance meetings, the City is hosting public sessions, an online survey and offering a self-guided kit for residents or organizations who want to host their own discussions to gather ideas for the Special Committee.
The goal of the consultation is to support residents who want to:
- learn about City Council’s governance, including how the City and Council identifies issues, engages the public and makes decisions,
- ask questions and discuss ideas with staff, members of the Committee and other residents,
- contribute their ideas for the Committee to consider.
5 public sessions will be held in June. At each session, the first hour will be an Open House where residents can drop in anytime to learn more about Toronto’s governance, speak with City staff, ask questions, and give their individual ideas.
After the Open House, and a short presentation, participants are welcome to stay, discuss their ideas with each other in small groups and develop recommendations for the Committee and staff to consider. Participants can complete a workbook at the session, give a brief public statement or complete an online version of the workbook. City staff will be on-hand throughout the session to record remarks.
Find out more information about the City’s public sessions and how to share your ideas for decision making in Toronto.
Online Survey & Toolkit
City Council created a Special Committee on Governance to consider the impacts of a smaller Council and recommend, as necessary, any further changes to the City’s interim governance structure and processes.
The City wants to hear your views on these changes and ideas for City Council’s city-wide and local decision-making.
Use this online survey to share your thoughts and ideas with the City.
The survey will remain open until July 26, 2019.
Community-led Discussion Toolkit
The City has created a downloadable toolkit to help residents and organizations host their own discussions to share ideas for decision making in Toronto. Individuals and organizations can download the toolkit to support conversations between family members, friends, neighbours, colleagues and local residents share their ideas about decision making at the City.
The Community-led Discussion toolkit contains a Participant Workbook equivalent to that which will be used in the City’s public sessions and mirror the questions of the City’s online survey. Residents are encouraged to use any and every opportunity they wish to share their ideas with the City identified as part of the consultations, but must do so before July 26, 2019.
Special Committee on Governance
In December 2018, City Council created a Special Committee on Governance. The Committee will consider the impacts on the City’s governance structure and processes arising from the reduction in the size of Council and to make recommendations to City Council on any further changes to its governance structure.
- At the Committee’s first meeting on February 21, 2019, members asked staff to develop a public consultation plan.
- At the Committee’s second meeting on April 12, 2019, members endorsed a Work Plan and Engagement Strategy that includes several ways for residents to add their ideas for the Committee’s consideration.
- You can sign up online to receive meeting and agenda information for the Special Committee.
What is Toronto's Governance System?
The City’s governance has many parts including:
- Structures such as standing committees, special committees, Community Councils and boards;
- Processes such as the schedule of meetings, how reports for Council are developed, and the procedural by-law which has all the rules for how Council and its committees work; and
- Roles such as the role of the Mayor, Councillors, the City Clerk, City staff and the public.
The image below describes the steps in City Council’s formal decision-making. It starts from an idea or a request, which is presented in a report to a Standing Committee or Community Council, proceeds to City Council for the final decision, and is then implemented by City staff. Council makes decisions by considering information from the public, staff and experts, and voting on recommendations from staff and Councillors. The public can participate in consultations, or by attending, speaking at or writing to a Council Committee or by contacting the Mayor, any Councillor, or staff.
Standing Committees consider reports from City officials, make recommendations to Council on issues and priorities, and provide opportunities for debate and public participation to inform their decisions. All meetings are open to the public and residents can speak or submit written comments and contact the Mayor and Councillors at any time.
Council created five Standing Committees (See figure below) that are responsible for specific issues:
- Executive Committee – Council priorities, plans, international and intergovernmental relations, governance structures and processes, and the financial integrity of the City;
- Economic and Community Development Committee – Strengthening communities, neighbourhoods and the economy;
- General Government and Licensing Committee – Administrative operations of the City and the licensing of businesses;
- Infrastructure and Environment Committee – Toronto’s infrastructure needs and services, parks and forestry and the sustainable use of Toronto’s environment; and
- Planning and Housing Committee – Planning, property standards, growth and housing development.
Council also has Special Committees (such as the Budget Committee and the Special Committee on Governance) to consider specific matters, and Council Advisory Bodies (such as the Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Committee and Toronto Music Advisory Committee) to address Council priorities.
How does the public participate in the City's decision making?
The City engages the public across Toronto throughout the year. The public plays an essential role in the City’s decision-making by:
- Identifying issues for Council and staff consideration;
- Providing input and feedback on services, reports and policies;
- Partnering with the City to deliver programs; and
- Providing ideas and recommendations to committees, by voting, through local actions and advocacy and by participating in consultations, surveys and advisory bodies.
City staff engage the public in a variety of ways. Some of these opportunities are one-time only, some are ongoing. Examples include:
- Public meetings and open houses to discuss new buildings, changes to roads and traffic, public transit expansion, City strategies, and other issues;
- Surveys on programs, issues and services;
- City-led community networks that bring the public, the City and other agencies together to discuss specific projects or longer-term issues;
- Conversations with City staff at community events and through the delivery of services at recreation centres, libraries, etc.;
- Appointing residents to City boards and Advisory Bodies to consider issues and make recommendations to Council and Committees;
- Volunteers to help with City events, outreach and programming; and
- 311 Toronto responses to resident questions and feedback.
Residents, neighbourhoods and community groups also create their own engagement with the City to share their ideas, concerns and suggestions to City staff, their Councillor or other groups. Examples include:
- Formal and informal groups and associations such as resident and ratepayer groups, business improvement areas, school-based groups, community-based organizations and faith groups;
- Online networks such as neighbourhood social media groups, web forums, and email lists; and
- Social and cultural groups such as sports leagues, recreational groups, community garden groups, parks groups, and arts groups.
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