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Burlington Council Approves Virtual Public Delegations at Meetings

Virtual Delegations

Burlington City Council approved a staff recommendation at our April 20 meeting to bring back the Committee of the Whole meetings to help City business continue and move forward, introduce virtual delegations for members of the public at Council meetings and changes to agenda management.


Here are the highlights from the report on how the City will introduce virtual delegations from the public:

  • Virtual delegations will be allowed at Standing Committees and Council
  • Delegates must submit a request through the online request form or an email to
  • Residents will be able connect to the system via phone or using computer audio
  • Intended speaking notes must be submitted in advance, in the event that there are connection issues
  • Staff are working on an internal process for how delegation requests are handled and vetted
  • Staff are working on a process to support Statutory Public Meetings. Once this is determined, a bylaw amendment will be presented to Council.
  • All requests to delegate to an Electronic Meeting must be submitted to the Clerks Department by noon the day before the Electronic Meeting — if the meeting is on a Monday, then the requests must be submitted by noon on the Friday before the meeting

To make sure that the technology is used properly, the Clerks Department will work with the City’s IT department to create appropriate technical instructions for the public.

There will be a learning curve with adopting a new way to allow for and to receive delegations. There also may be issues with residents being unable to connect, not having the appropriate technology or poor connectivity. City staff will attempt to assist, but since delegates are requested to provide their speaking notes in advance, these
will be circulated to committee or Council.

Staff will review the first month of delegations and may adjust the procedures or the instruction materials based on experience or feedback. Allowing delegations will require more ITS and Clerks Department staff involved in meeting management during the meeting. The public’s participation is important, engaging more staff to ensure the public has access to delegate will help mitigate any disruption in service.


  • Clerks staff will submit a monthly report Council providing an update on monthly report projections.
  • Items not brought forward will have an anticipated date of when it will be presented.
  • If there are specific COVID-19 reasons why a report cannot be provided, rationale will be provided.


  • Staff recommended the return of the Committee of the Whole to allow for flexibility in agenda management planning
  • This will create a new body that may deal with items that do not fit under any of the current standing
    committee mandates


We’ll give this proposal a shot, and ask for written delegation in advance to help in the short-term as a first run at this. We have to turn our minds to this no matter what, particularly with planning development applications that need public consultations. I’m really glad to see the three-month picture from staff. We’re looking at how we can make our business better after we’re out of COVID-19. I think this is a great step forward. I think this will make us more efficient in our decision-making at committee and Council.

— Mayor Marianne Meed Ward


PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages (and subscribe) and, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to


*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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Media Specialist: John Bkila