If you become a member of a municipal council, you must take an Oath of Office in the prescribed form prior to carrying out any power, duty or function as a member of that council.
Within 30 days of being elected to council, you must complete and sign a Public Disclosure Statement listing your employer, land holdings, business interests and contracts. This statement must be reviewed yearly and updated when required to ensure its accuracy. Your Oath of Office and Public Disclosure Statement are accessible public documents.
All decisions of council must be made at meetings open to the public with a majority of council members present. At these meetings, it is important for council members to listen to each other and collectively reach decisions that are in the best interests of the municipality. An individual member of council, including the mayor or reeve, does not have the authority to commit the municipality to any expenditure or direct the activities of municipal employees.
Conflict of Interest Rules for Council
A conflict of interest occurs when an elected official’s private interests, or a closely connected person’s interests may, or may appear to, be affected by a council decision. A financial interest is always a conflict of interest. If as a council member you think you may have a conflict of interest, you must declare the nature of the interest before any discussion occurs, leave council chambers and not vote or discuss the matter with other council members before, during, or after the matter is being considered or decided.
Council members' individual responsibilities are grouped as follows:
Representation and Accountability
A councillor's responsibility is to serve the people who elected them to office. A councillor should engage regularly with the public to take into account the views and concerns of all members of a community when voting on matters of concern.
Municipal council is responsible for shaping the future of the municipality by implementing new policy, by-laws and community goals. Many decisions that council makes are the result of extensive community consultation, research and advice from community members and groups. It is important for council to remember that they must represent the people who voted them to office. Failure to do so may result in a limited term in office.
Members of council are generally responsible for ensuring that municipal staff follows through on the policies, priorities and direction that council has set forth. Council members should also expect to be active members of committees and boards in the community to ensure that they possess the required knowledge to pass on to council.
If you are elected to office, you will not be starting off from scratch. There will be local legislation existing in the form of bylaws, which will remain in effect until they are amended or repealed. In addition, individual members of council are not permitted to make decisions on their own on behalf for the municipality. Any election promise you made during your campaign can only be carried out if you can convince a majority of council that it is in the best interest of the municipality.