March 2020
Additional Information on Bill 187, the Municipal Emergency Act

2020-03-20 10:37:18 AM


In an emergency sitting yesterday, the provincial government unanimously passed Bill 187, the Municipal Emergency Act.  

The Bill will provide municipalities the option to allow Councils, committees, and certain local boards to meet in open and closed meeting electronically and have it be counted towards quorum during emergencies declared by the province or a local Head of Council. The emergency would have to be declared under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

To participate in meetings electronically, municipal councils, committees and board will have to amend their procedure by-laws to:

  • Allow the use of electronic participation at meetings;

  • State whether members can participate in both open and closed meetings; and

  • State whether members participating electronically count towards quorum.

It is up to the municipality’s discretion to choose the technology for such meeting and ensure the meetings can be open to the public.

Meetings under these new provisions would still be required to follow existing meeting rules including:

  • Providing of notice of meetings to the public;

  • Maintaining meeting minutes; and

  • Ensuring meetings will continue to be open to the public (subject to exceptions made in the Municipal Act).

Among the Local Boards covered by this legislation are: municipal service boards, transportation commissions, boards of health, library boards, and planning boards. Some local boards, such as police services, library and school boards, will not be covered under Bill 187.

If a municipality is unsure if a local entity is considered a local board, it is recommended by the province to seek independent legal advice on whether these new provisions would apply to their local entities. 

For more information, please see below;

Ontario Government: Providing Flexibility for Municipalities to Hold Local Meetings During Emergencies

Ontario Legislature: Bill 187, the Municipal Emergencies Act

AMCTO: Government Passes Legislation to Allow Councils to Meet Electronically


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