The city manager is proposing amending the Procedure Bylaw to include a general protocol for dealing with members of the public who engage in harassing or abusive behaviour when they appear as delegations at committee or council meetings.
Over the course of the last year or so, staff has observed increasing incidents of incivility at Standing Committee meetings and meetings of City Council whereby certain members of the public use the delegation platform to make disparaging remarks either about other identifiable groups/minorities in society or, at times, city staff.
Proposed amendments to the Procedure By-law will give staff a mechanism to intervene and prevent someone from delegating at a standing committee in those situations where persons “are known to or likely to engage in unreasonable or offensive conduct” or speak on matters outside the city’s jurisdiction. A similar protocol exists at Halton Region.
“Unreasonable or offensive conduct” is defined as “conduct or statements by a member of the public that can be considered to be aggressive, abusive, threatening, intimidating, violent, harassing, defamatory, frivolous or vexatious.”
Should an individual be denied the right to delegate, they will be informed of the reason why. The chair and vice-chair of the relevant standing committee will also be notified.
The report will be on the agenda for the April 3 Committee of the Whole at City Hall, 1pm, Council Chambers. Recommendations from COW will go to City Council April 18 for a final decision. Register as a delegation to speak to committee about this item.
I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.