1. What does City Council do?
City Council operates in accordance with several provincial statutes, the main ones being The Cities Act and The Planning and Development Act. City Council has only those powers which the Provincial Government has expressly given to it by statute.
City Council cannot make any decisions, or take any action, other than during an official meeting of City Council. All meetings are public, and all decisions are made publicly.
City Council has delegated some responsibilities to several standing committees (Executive, Land, Audit, Planning and Operations and Administration and Finance). These committees are comprised solely of members of City Council. All committees meet publicly. These committees review matters under their jurisdiction, but must submit recommendations to City Council for approval. Council may approve, amend, or defeat the recommendations of a committee.
Subjects which Council and its standing committees discuss include:
- Policies and procedures to guide actions of City departments;
- Bylaws which affect various aspects of life in the City; and
- Operating and Capital Budgets of City departments.
2. How do citizens most often participate in City Council's decisions?
You can participate in City Council's decisions by:
- Making presentations at public hearings held to get public input into bylaws and other significant decisions such as rezonings and discretionary use applications.
- Making presentations at Committee meetings in response to recommendations made by City departments for any kind of project or initiative.
- Sending written submissions to Council about reports or proposed bylaws.
- Writing to City Council on issues of concern.
3. How can I find out what is on the Council Agenda?
Agendas are normally published on the Wednesday evening of the week preceding the meeting. They are available for viewing at The Frances Morrison Branch of the Saskatoon Public Library as well as in the City Clerk's Office during office hours. Council and committee agendas and minutes are also posted on this website in .pdf format (follow the appropriate link on the navigation bar).
Many bylaws, especially land use bylaws, require advertising and a public hearing before Council may approve them. These are referred to as "statutory public hearings". These public hearings occur at the beginning of a Council agenda. They are advertised in the local print media in advance of the meeting, and notice is posted at the site in question.
4. How can I get an item of concern before City Council or a Committee?
If you know that a particular report or issue is to be discussed at either City Council or one of its standing committees, you may request to make a presentation during that discussion. You must provide a letter to the Office of the City Clerk, 222 Third Avenue North, Saskatoon, S7K 0J5, Fax (306) 975-2784, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to speak on the matter, your letter MUST say so. You can also bring forward a new matter for Council's consideration by writing a letter to City Council.
Your letter must clearly specify the issue which you wish to address, as well as a general outline of your concerns. Please note that, since all meetings of City Council are public, your letter is considered a public document.
You are encouraged to contact the City Clerk's Office at (306) 975-3240 to clarify the requirements for writing to City Council.
5. Are there any deadlines which I should be aware of?
A letter to City Council must be received in the City Clerk's Office by 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday preceding the week of the meeting. If the letter is received later than that, but relates to an issue which is already on the agenda, it may be placed on the agenda as an addendum.
You are encouraged to phone the City Clerk's Office at (306) 975-3240 to clarify deadlines.
6. Is there anything which I need to know about making a presentation?
Items on an agenda are dealt with in the order they appear. Generally the Administration will make their presentation, followed by those individuals approved to speak on the item.
You will have five minutes to make your presentation. If you have more than one person wishing to speak you will only be allowed five minutes for the entire delegation. Following your presentation, you may be asked questions from members of Council or the committee.
7. Is there any audio-visual equipment available to use in making a presentation?
There is a variety of equipment available in the Council Chambers and committee meetings rooms. For details, please contact the City Clerk's Office at (306) 975-3240. You must contact the City Clerk's Office at least two days before the meeting to request the use of the equipment you need, and you may be required to meet with a representative of the City Clerk's Office at least a day prior to the meeting in order to review the operation of the equipment.
Whether or not you use audio-visual assistance, your presentation may not exceed five minutes in length.
8. How will I know when a decision is made on the issue in which I am interested?
A motion will be made on all issues which require a decision or direction from City Council or a committee. You may seek clarification from the City Clerk or the Secretary of the Committee if you do not understand what has been decided.
You will receive a letter from the City Clerk's Office advising you of the action taken by Council or the Committee and what will happen next, if anything.
Minutes for all meetings are available through the City Clerk's Office and in .pdf format on the City's website (following the appropriate link on the navigation bar).
9. Where can I get more information about the operation of City Council and its committees?
Staff from the City Clerk's Office can help you with any questions you may have regarding the above information. It is difficult to briefly outline all of the rules which apply to the many committees of Council, so you are strongly encouraged to contact the City Clerk's Office at (306) 975-3240 for clarification.