Electronic Meetings and COVID 19

As we learn more about the potential impacts of COVID 19, you may be thinking ahead and considering what would happen if a number of elected officials were unable to attend a local government council or board meeting because of illness or self-isolation. Many local governments will have included in their Procedure Bylaws provisions in relation to electronic meetings. Some procedure bylaws will specify that where you are allowing participants to attend electronically there must be a quorum of elected officials physically present at the meeting.

Can the local government deviate from this provision? The applicable legislation says that the meeting must be conducted in accordance with the procedure bylaw.

Local governments may wish to consider amending their procedure bylaws to allow less than the quorum of elected officials to be physically present in a declared pandemic. There are notice requirements for amending procedure bylaws and theses are different depending on whether the local government is a municipality or regional district.

Local governments may also which to consider creating an additional deputy corporate officer position during the pandemic to be activated in the absence of the corporate officer.