While the City of Burlington remains in a State of Emergency and we continue our efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19, our Council and committee meetings will look and operate a little differently.
We are taking extra precautions to protect staff, the public and council, while doing our best to ensure transparency and accountability to the public. No public are allowed in Chambers as we closed all City facilities including City Hall, effective Monday, March 16 to the end of June, and possibly longer.
Members of the public will still be able to submit written delegations to the clerk, and any councillor who has questions can follow up directly. The written submissions to the Clerk will form part of the public record. City staff are also looking into ways of extending the technology to allow for remote public participation.
The only people physically present in Council Chambers will be myself (during Council meetings) of the Chair of our Committees (during a Committee meeting), along with a clerk and our technician. All remaining council/committee members and any City staff will be remotely dialing in by phone or through digital means.
Anyone in Chambers will be keeping physically distant at least 2 metres (6 foot), and all surfaces in the room will be cleaned before and after each meeting.
A roll call will always be conducted so that the Clerk can attendance of members present and confirm a quorum.
The City of Burlington is able to achieve quorum “remotely” thanks to the provincial government’s announcement on March 19. The Province passed legislation giving municipalities the ability to fully conduct Council, local board and committee meetings electronically when faced with local and province-wide emergencies, empowering us to respond quickly when in-person meetings cannot be held. This ensures that we can make efficient decisions that are needed at a local level in a remote setting. These are the decisions that will keep our communities safe, functioning and informed during these challenging times.
It is important to ensure remote public viewing of any council or committee meeting by live webcast and a recording of the meeting. At this time, it is our best way to maintain a public facing component.
As these are unprecedented times, we are doing our best to navigate and would ask for your patience and understanding. This is how our meetings will be conducted for the foreseeable future, but we may need to make further changes as the situation evolves.
We successfully held two virtual Special Council meetings on March 24 to discuss essential, time-sensitive business, including an amendment to a procedural bylaw that will allow virtual participation and remote voting at electronic City Council meetings, a remuneration report and Burlington Hydro’s operating line of credit.
The March 30 Council meeting was cancelled and all other business (including the recommendations from the March standing committees) are pushed to the Council meeting on April 20.
Upcoming April 6 Committee Meeting:
A review was conducted by the Burlington Leadership Team with respect to the upcoming items for the next slate of meetings. The review focused on what was essential, time-sensitive or legislated timelines that were not flexible.
Based on the review, only a handful of items were remaining that warranted only one meeting. We have chosen to condense the three council-only standing committee meetings into one meeting: Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee on Monday, April 6, starting at 9:30 a.m. with remote participation.
The upcoming Audit Committee, Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Committee and Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee meetings will be cancelled for the month of April.
Items that could wait or that were public-interest issues have been pushed to May and June, to give City staff time to develop how to increase the level of public involvement in the new virtual format of meetings.
April 20 Council Meeting:
- The City Manager will be bringing a report with respect to an outlook for the Council/Committee meetings for the next three months. This will include a strategy for the way forward.
- In addition, there are two other reports trending towards April 20 — Bill 108 report and Tax Relief.
- We will be reviewing the March’s items, with a view to incorporating those items into the Council meeting for April 20 for final ratification.
We thank you all for your patience as we get used to this new way of conducting our Council and Committee meetings while trying to remain as transparent and engaging with you as possible.
— 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 burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.
HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:
- With the closure of City facilities, telephone access to Service Burlington is currently unavailable. Please send your community questions and requests to Service Burlington by email at email@example.com or visit burlington.ca/coronavirus
- For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
- Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or 905-335-7738
- City of Burlington: www.burlington.ca/coronavirus
- Halton Region: www.halton.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Chamber of Commerce Business Supports: burlingtonchamber.com/team-burl-supporting-burl-business-during-covid-19/
*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist