All municipalities in Ontario should broadcast and archive video of council meetings

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A Case for Transparency in 2020

All municipalities in Ontario should: 

  1. broadcast video of council proceedings, or 
  2. allow the broadcasting of council proceedings;

and that the County/Municipality archive all council/committee meeting audio/video on an accessible platform for a minimum period of time - to be determined by provincial/municipal governments

It is estimated that at least 954,430 or 7% of Ontarian's do not have access to their County Council meeting video/audio and that at least 2,848,576 or 21% of Ontarian's do not have access to the audio/video of their local (Single or Lower Tier) Municipal Council meetings. (estimation based on number of municipalities in December 2019 with audio/video with 2016 Census data)

Percentage of County/Municipal Governments with video (as of December 22, 2019)

  • Regional Municipalities - 100% 
  • Counties - 42% 
  • United Counties - 33% 
  • Single Tier Municipalities - 22.75% 
  • Lower Tier Municipalities - 34%

*Smallest municipality with video/audio streaming - Township of Schreiber -population 1,059 - Youtube

Reasons for Broadcasting Video of Council Proceedings

  • Transparency and accountability
  • Increased public participation/engagement to decision making
  • Increased accessibility to those who are physically unable to attend council meetings.

Why did citizens of South Bruce Peninsula - Ontario’s Natural Retreat start this petition?

  • Many people are seasonal/part-time residents and want to remain engaged with local decisions
  • Full-time residents wish to be engaged in local decision making
  • Video helps engage those schools and retirement/assisted living
  • Video helps engage those in rural areas who may not have access to a vehicle or public transit
  • Weather conditions may be unfavourable and streaming council meetings online reducing the need for citizens to travel
  • Reducing the need for transportation reduces emissions
  • Public notices and Community announcements are not heard effectively through audio
  • Audio recordings in some municipalities are poor quality and not suitable for people with hearing impairments
  • Often audio must be downloaded and is only available in a specific format - Windows© only (WMA) rather than mp3
  • Often audio is only available for a short time and not archived. This obscures historic transparency.

Available Streaming Services used by Municipalities

Recommendation from Ombudsman Ontario (from Top Ten Tips for Municipal Officials)

"Record the meeting, including all decisions, by taking minutes,
              and preferably also by recording audio or video.” (link)

Policies and Reports

Example of a Policy/Bylaw for permission for independent persons/media to broadcast (link)

"Open Meetings of Council held in Council Chambers may be broadcast and video recorded in an effort to promote transparency, public participation and access to municipal decision making. Any Council meetings or portions of Council meetings closed to the public in accordance with section 197 of the Municipal Government Act will not be broadcast or recorded.” -Banff, BC

Example of a Policy/Bylaw for a municipality to broadcast their own council meetings 

Example of a Municipal Website with Audio/Visual Archives for all Council and Committee Meetings 

  • White Rock City, BC (link) - note that agenda lines are linked to video timestamps. Audio is mp4

E-Government Toolkit for Eastern Canada (link)

Report on ways to improve service quality, efficiency/cost savings, citizen participation, transparency, openness, and policy effectiveness. Video of Council proceedings is mentioned as a recommended improvement.

Other Related News in other Municipalities 

  • Local Petition for video streaming in Sables-Spanish Rivers -May 2019 (link)
  • Algonquin Highlands bans recording devices -Feb 2018 (link)
  • Council bans recording of audio and/or video in Bancroft - August 2017 (link)
  • Ramara Township charges for $5 for audio recording. Note: link features table comparing municipalities and which offer audio, video archiving, and/or streaming -May 2019 (link)
  • Lack of a transparent video policy can create issues on the municipal level when citizens want to broadcast council proceedings. Link shows a recording incident leading to a physical altercation with an independent media source ‘eavesdropping’ at a Council meeting. -November 2015 (link)

 

Data and other Sources

Municipalities in Ontario - https://www.amo.on.ca/AMO-Content/Municipal-101/Ontario-Municipalities.aspx

2016 census data -http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/hlt-fst/pd-pl/Table.cfm?Lang=Eng&T=302&SR=1&S=86&O=A&RPP=9999&PR=35

https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/hlt-fst/pd-pl/Table.cfm?Lang=Eng&T=701&SR=1&S=55&O=A&RPP=25

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_municipalities_in_Ontario

 

Regional Municipalities with Video Streaming/Archiving (8 of 8)

Durham

Halton

Muskoka

Niagara

Oxford

Peel

Waterloo

York

Regional Municipalities without Video Streaming/Archiving

None


Counties with Video Streaming/Archiving (8 of 19)

Bruce

Dufferin

Essex

Grey

Lambton

Northumberland

Peterborough

Wellington

Counties without Video Streaming/Arching - 11 Counties with a population of 799,744

Elgin (50,069)

Frontenac (26,677)

Haliburton (18,062)

Hastings (39,628)

Huron (59,297)

Lanark (59,918)

Lennox and Addington (42,888)

Middlesex (71,551)

Perth (38,066)

Renfrew (88,072)

Simcoe (305,516)

Total population - 799,744


United Counties with Video Streaming/Archiving 

Leeds and Grenville

United Counties without Video Streaming/Archiving (population total 154,686)

Prescott and Russel (89,333)

Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (65,353)

 

Single Tier with Video Streaming and/or Archiving (43 of 189)

Barrie

Bonfield

Brant

Brantford

Brockville

Chatham-Kent

Cochrane

Cornwall

Dryden

Elliot Lake

Erin

Espanola

Greater Sudbury

Greenstone

Guelph

Haldimand

Hamilton

Hearst

Kawartha Lakes

Kingston

Kirkland Lake

London

Manitouwadge

Marathon

Norfolk

North Bay

Orillia

Ottawa

Peterborough

Prescott

Prince Edward

Quinte West

Sault Ste. Marie

Schreiber

Smith Falls

St. Marys

St. Thomas

Stratford

Thunder Bay

Timmins

Toronto

West Nipissing

Windsor

Single Tier without Video Streaming and/or Archiving (146 municipalities with a population of 298,923)

Alberton (969)

The Archipelago (531)

Armour (1,414)

Armstrong (1,166)

Assaginack (1,013)

Atikokan (2,753)

Baldwin (605)

Belleville (50,716)

Black River-Matheson (2,438)

Blind River (3,472)

Brethour (97)

Bruce Mines (582)

Burk’s Falls (981)

Burpee and Mills (343)

Callander (3,863)

Calvin (516)

Carling (1,125)

Casey (368)

Central Manitoulin (2,084)

Chamberlain (332)

Chapleau (1,964)

Chapple (638)

Charlton and Dack (686)

Chrisholm (1,291)

Cobalt (1,128)

Cockburn Island (0)

Coleman (595)

Conmee (819)

Dawson (468)

Dorion (316)

Dubreuilville (613)

Ear Falls (995)

East Ferris (4,750)

Emo (1,333)

Englehart (1,479)

Evanturel (449)

Fauquier-Strickland (536)

Fort Frances (30,710)

French River (2,662)

Gananoque (5,159)

Gauthier (138)

Gillies (474)

Gordon/Barrie Island (490)

Gore Bay (867)

Harley (551)

Harris (545)

Hilliard (223)

Hilton (307)

Hilton Beach (171)

Hornepayne (980)

Hudson (503)

Huron Shores (1,664)

Ignace (1,202)

Iroquois Falls (4,537)

James (420)

Jocelyn (313)

Johnson (751)

Kapuskasing (8,292)

Kearney (882) 

Kenora (15,096)

Kerns (358)

Killarney (386)

La Vallee (938)

Laird (1,047)

Lake of the Woods (230)

Larder Lake (730)

Latchford (313)

Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional (1,609)

Machar (882)

Machin (971)

Magnetawan (1,390)

Markstay-Warren (2,656)

Mattachewan (225)

Mattawa (1,993)

Mattawan (161)

Mattice-Vale Cote (648)

McDougall (2,702)

McGarry (609)

McKellar (1,111)

McMurrich/Monteith (824)

Moonbeam (1,231)

Moosonee (1,481) (193,335)

Morley (481)

Nairn and Hyman (342)

Neebing (2,055)

Nibigon (1,642)

Nipissing (1,707)

The North Shore (497)

Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands (2,712)

O’Connor (663)

Oliver Paipoonge (5,922)

Opasatika (226)

Papineau-Cameron (1,016)

Parry Sound (6,670)

Pelee (235)

Pemboke (13,882)

Perry (2,454)

Pickle Lake (388)

Plummer Additional (660)

Plympton-Wyoming (7,795)

Powassan (3,455)

Prince (1,010)

Rainy River (807)

Red Lake (4,107)

Red Rock (895)

Ryerson (648)

Sables-Spanish Rivers (3,188)

Seguin (4,304)

Shuniah (2,798)

Sioux Lookout (5,272)

Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls (567)

Smooth Rock Falls (1,330)

South Algonquin (1,096)

South River (1,114)

Spanish (712)

St. Charles (1,269)

St. Joseph (1,240)

Strong (1,439)

Sundridge (961)

Tarbutt (534)

Tehkummah (436)

Temagami (902)

Temiskaming Shores (9,920)

Terrace Bay (1,611)

Thessalon (1,286)

Thornloe (112)

Val Rita-Harty (762)

Wawa (2,905)

White River (645)

Whitestone (916)

Total - 298,923

 

Lower Tier with Video Streaming and/or Archiving (82 of 239)

Adelaide-Metcalfe

Ajax

Aurora

Billings

The Blue Mountains

Bracebridge

Brampton

Brighton

Brock

Burlington

Cambridge

Cobourg

Collingwood

East Gwillimbury

Edwardsburgh/Cardinal

Essex

Fort Erie

Georgian Bay

Georgina

Goderich

Grimsby

Halton Hills

Hawksebury

Huntsville

Ingersoll

Innisfil

Kincardine

Kitchener

Lakeshore

Leeds and the Thousand Islands

Lincoln

Meaford

Milton

Minto

Mississauga

Mono

Muskoka Lakes

Newmarket

Niagara Falls

Niagara-on-the-Lake

North Grenville

North Huron

North Kawartha

North Perth

Oakville

Oshawa

Owen Sound

Pelham

Penetanguishene

Port Colborne

Port Hope

Orangeville

Oro-Medonte

Prescott

Puslinch*

Richmond Hill

Russell

Sarnia

Saugeen Shores

Selwyn

Shelburne*

Spring Water

St. Catharines

St. Claire

Strathroy-Carodoc**

Thorold

Tilsonburg

Tiny

Uxbridge

Vaughan

Wainfleet

Wasaga Beach

Waterloo

Welland

West Grey

West Lincoln

Whitby

Whitchurch-Stouffville

Whitewater Region

Woodstock

Lower Tier without Video Streaming/Archiving (157 Municipalities with a population of 2,544,653)

Addington Highlands (2,323)

Adjala-Tosorontio (10,975)

Admaston/Bromley (2,935)

Alfred and Plantagenet (9,680)

Algonquin Highlands (2,351)

Alnwick/Haldimand (6,869)

Amaranth (4,079)

Amherstburg (21,936)

Arnprior (8,795)

Arran-Elderslie (6,803)

Ashfield-Colorne-Wawanosh (5,422)

Asphodel-Norwood (4,109)

Athens (3,013)

Augusta (7,353)

Aylmer (7,492)

Bancroft (3,881)

Bayham (7,396)

Beckwith (7,644)

Blandford-Blenheim (7,399)

Bluewater (7,136)

Bonnechere Valley (3,674)

Bradford West Gwillimbury (35,325)

Brockton (9,461)

Brook-Alvinston (2,411)

Brudennel, Lyndoch, and Raglan (1,503)

Caledon (66,502)

Carleton Place (10,644)

Carlow/Mayo (864)

Casselman (3,548)

Cavan/Monaghan (8,829)

Central Elgin (12,607)

Central Frontenac (4,373)

Central Huron (7,576)

Centre Hastings (4,774)

Centre Wellington (28,191)

Champlain (8,706)

Chatsworth (6,630)

Clarence-Rockland (24,512)

Clarington (92,013)

Clearview (14,151)

Cramahe (6,355)

Dawn-Euphemia (1,967)

Deep River (4,109)

Deseronto (1,774)

Duoro-Dummer (6,709)

Drummond/North Elmsley (7,773)

Dutton/Dunwich (3,866)

Dysart et al (6,280)

East Hawksbury (3,296)

East Zorra-Tavistock (7,129)

Elizabethtown-Kitley (9,854)

Enniskillen (2,796)

Essa (21,083)

Faraday (1,401)

Front of Yonge (2,607)

Frontenac Islands (1,760)

Georgian Buffs (10,479)

Grand Valley (2,518)

Gravenhurst (12,311)

Greater Madawaska (2,518)

Greater Napanee (15,892)

Grey Highlands (9,804)

Guelph/Eramosa (12,854)

Hanover (7,688)

Hastings Highlands (4,078)

Havelock-Belmont-Methuen (4,530)

Head, Clara, and Maria (248)

Highlands East (3,343)

Horton (2,887)

Howick (3,873)

Huron East (9,138)

Huron-Kinloss (7,069)

Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards (2,420)

King (24,512)

Kingsville (21,552)

Lake of Bays (3,167)

Lambton Shores (10,631)

Lanark Highlands (5,338)

LaSalle (30,180)

Laurentian Hills (2,961)

Laurentian Valley (9,387)

Leamington (27,595)

Limerick (346)

Loyalist (16,971)

Lucan Biddulph (4,700)

Madawaska Valley (4,123)

Madoc (2,078)

Malahide (9,292)

Mapleton (10,527)

Marmora and Lake (3,953)

McNab/Braeside (7,178)

Melancthon (3,008)

Merickville-Wolford (3,067)

Middlesex Centre (17,262)

Midland (16,864)

Minden Hills (6,088)

Missisippi Mills (13,163)

Montague (3,761) (933,007)

Morris-Turnberry (3,496)

Mulmur (3,478)

The Nation (12,808)

New Tecumseth (34,242)

Newbury (466)

North Algona Wilberforce (2,915)

North Dumfries (10,215)

North Dundas (11,278)

North Frontenac (1,898)

North Glengarry (10,109)

North Middlesex (6,352)

North Stormont (6,873)

North Bruce Peninsula (3,999)

Norwich (11,001)

Oil Springs (648)

Otonabee-South Monaghan (6,670)

Perth (5,930)

Perth East (12,261)

Perth South (3,810)

Petawawa (17,187)

Petrolia (5,742)

Pickering (91,771)

Point Edward (2,037)

Ramara (9,488)

Renfrew (8,223)

Rideau Lakes (10,,326)

Scugog (21,617)

Severn (13,477)

South Bruce Peninsula (8,416) 

South Bruce (5,639)

South Dundas (10,833)

South Frontenac (18,646)

South Glengarry (13,150)

South Huron (10,096)

South Stormont (13,110)

Southgate (7,354)

Southwest Middlesex (5,723)

South-West Oxford (7,664)

Southwold (4,421)

Stirling-Rawdon (4,882)

Stone Mills (7,702)

Tay (10,033)

Tay Valley (5,665)

Thames Centre (13,191)

Trent Hills (12,900)

Trent Lakes (5,397)

Tudor and Cashel (586)

Tweed (6,044)

Tyendinaga (4,297)

Warwick (3,692)

Wellesley (11,260)

Wellington North (11,914)

West Elgin (4,995)

West Perth (8,865)

Westport (590)

Wilmot (20,545)

Wollaston (670)

Woolwich (25,006)

Zorra (8,138)

Total - 2,544,653