Submit written correspondence to council

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| Published , updated March 12, 2024

Many municipalities in Ontario accept written correspondence, but they are not required by law to do so in the Municipal Act.

The handling of written correspondence is typically outlined in a municipality’s Procedural Bylaw – which every municipality must have – and governs the calling, place and proceedings of meetings.

What is written correspondence?

Written correspondence is a formal written submission to a council or local board about an item on a meeting’s agenda that is presented to council on the meeting agenda. It can be in the form of an email, petition, letter or other communication.

A written communication to council must typically be submitted to the Municipal Clerk for review a week or so before the council meeting that includes the item it pertains to – ideally as soon after the meeting agenda is posted as possible. The document will form part of the public record.

It is ideal if you want to share information with Council members, but don’t want to appear before council.

NOTE: You can contact members of council by phone, email or mail at any time to ask questions or raise your concerns. Correspondence is an official process to have your concerns presented publicly to council on the meeting agenda and in the public record and is not required to contact your elected representatives. For more, check out our Action Library.

Belleville Procedural Bylaw

7.7 Correspondence

(2) Items of correspondence or other forms of written communication intended to be presented to Council on the meeting agenda:

  • (i) shall be legibly written or printed;
  • (ii) shall not contain any obscene or improper language; and
  • (iii) shall contain the signature of at least one person.

(3) To be eligible to appear on a meeting agenda, items of correspondence shall have been received by the office of the Clerk no later than 4:30 p.m. on the Tuesday preceding the date of the next Regular Council Meeting. Notwithstanding the foregoing, items of correspondence received after the afore-noted time may be added to the meeting agenda where such item of correspondence is germane to a matter of business that is on the meeting agenda.

(4) Upon consideration of any item of correspondence, Council may adopt a motion to: (i) receive the item of correspondence; or (ii) refer the item of correspondence to another item listed on the meeting agenda; or (iii) refer the item of correspondence to a committee or board or City staff for a report; or may consider a substantive motion with respect to the same.

  • (i) receive the item of correspondence; or
  • (ii) refer the item of correspondence to another item listed on the meeting agenda; or
  • (iii) refer the item of correspondence to a committee or board or City staff for a report;
  • or may consider a substantive motion with respect to the same.
City of Belleville Procedural Bylaw

How to submit a correspondence or communication to council

  1. Watch the meeting agendas for upcoming committee, local board or council meetings so you know when the item on the topic you’re interested in will be discussed.
  2. After the agenda has been published, contact the Municipal Clerk by email or mail to say you’d like to speak to the committee about an item and provide the following:

It should include:

  • Date
  • Your name, address, email address and phone number
  • Subject
  • Agenda item number, meeting, meeting date
  • Brief overview of the specific topic
  • Overview of past interactions with municipal staff on the matter
  • Your request/recommendation
  • Signature

Once determined to be appropriate, it will be distributed by the Clerk to Council and Committee members and published as part of the revised agenda before the meeting.

To write about a topic that is not part of an upcoming agenda, write the Clerk’s Office and include:

  • a description of your concern
  • the action you would like Council to consider

How to write a correspondence

It should be:

  • Legibly written or printed
  • Short – 500 words is a good limit

It must not be:

  • Disrespectful toward any person
  • Contain obscene or defamatory language, gestures or images
  • Promotional or for the purpose of generating publicity
  • Related to litigation or potential litigation or to any matter which is currently before any court or administrative tribunal
  • About subject matter that is not noted on the agenda

Correspondence letter template

[Date]

[Name]
[Title] [Position]
[Department]
[Full Municipality Name]

Subject: [Item #] [Meeting] [Meeting Date] Implementation of Enhanced Road Safety Measures on [Specific Street or Area]

Mayor and Members of Council,

Issue: [Briefly describe the specific issue, such as high traffic speed, lack of pedestrian crossings, inadequate lighting, etc. Provide any relevant data or personal experiences that highlight the severity of the issue.]

Impact: [Explain how this issue affects the community, focusing on safety concerns, risk of accidents, impact on children and vulnerable populations, etc.]

Request: In light of the above, I respectfully petition the [Municipality Name] Municipal Council to take the following actions:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive traffic and safety assessment of [Specific Street or Area] to identify critical areas for improvement.
  2. Implement enhanced road safety measures, which may include the installation of speed bumps, additional pedestrian crossings, improved street lighting, and the creation of designated cycling lanes.
  3. Increase enforcement of traffic laws in the area to discourage speeding and other dangerous behaviors.
  4. Engage with the community through public consultations to gather further input and ensure that the proposed measures meet the needs and concerns of local residents.

Justification: I believe that taking these steps will significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in [Specific Street or Area], promoting a safer and more livable community for all. Enhancing road safety measures is not only a matter of public health and safety but also aligns with the broader goals of encouraging active transportation, reducing traffic congestion, and improving the quality of life in our municipality.

I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to your prompt action to address our concerns. I am committed to working collaboratively with the municipal council and staff to find effective solutions that will ensure the safety and well-being of our community.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your Concerns]

Thank you,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[Your Phone Number/Email]
[Signature]

Example letter of correspondence

Municipalities that accept written correspondence

Submissions are part of the public record

What is the public record?

All communications made through the Office of the City Clerk or at a public meeting (City Council, standing Committees, boards and committees), including written correspondence, create a record which is kept on file by the municipality, may be viewed by the general public and copies may be released on request through the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

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