Municipal Clerks required to provide records in Ontario

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| Published , updated April 25, 2024

Municipal Clerks and their department are responsible for preparing Council agendas, minutes, by-laws, resolutions, etc. according to the Procedure Bylaw and managing the records of the Municipality, serving as an information centre for members of council, staff and the public.

They are also responsible for administering municipal elections.

The Municipal Clerk reports directly to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

Clerk required to record meeting decisions, votes

Clerk

228 (1) A municipality shall appoint a clerk whose duty it is,

(a) to record, without note or comment, all resolutions, decisions and other proceedings of the council;

(b) if required by any member present at a vote, to record the name and vote of every member voting on any matter or question;  

(c) to keep the originals or copies of all by-laws and of all minutes of the proceedings of the council;

(d) to perform the other duties required under this Act or under any other Act; and

(e) to perform such other duties as are assigned by the municipality.  2001, c. 25, s. 228 (1).

Deputy clerks

(2) A municipality may appoint deputy clerks who have all the powers and duties of the clerk under this and any other Act.  2001, c. 25, s. 228 (2).

Not required to be an employee

(3) A clerk or deputy clerk is not required to be an employee of the municipality.  2001, c. 25, s. 228 (3).

Delegation

(4) The clerk may delegate in writing to any person, other than a member of council, any of the clerk’s powers and duties under this and any other Act.  2001, c. 25, s. 228 (4).

Clerk retains powers and duties

(5) The clerk may continue to exercise the delegated powers and duties, despite the delegation.  2001, c. 25, s. 228 (5).

Clerk required to provide municipal records upon request

Inspection of records

253 (1) Subject to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, any person may, at all reasonable times, inspect any of the records under the control of the clerk, including,

(a) by-laws and resolutions of the municipality and of its local boards;

(b) minutes and proceedings of regular, special or committee meetings of the council or local board, whether the minutes and proceedings have been adopted or not;

(c) records considered at a meeting, except those records considered during that part of a meeting that was closed to the public;

(d) the records of the council;

(e) statements of remuneration and expenses prepared under section 284.  2001, c. 25, s. 253 (1).

Certified copies

(2) Upon request, the clerk shall, within a reasonable time, provide a certified copy under seal of the municipality of any record referred to in subsection (1) to any applicant who pays the fee established by council.  2001, c. 25, s. 253 (2).

Section 253 of the Municipal Act

What to do if the municipal clerk does not provide records within a reasonable time?

If a municipal clerk is not responding to your inquiries or refuses to provide copies of municipal records under their control, you can file a Municipal Freedom of Information request to access the records.

This approach may be more effective as the appeal process involves a mediator at the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, which can issue decisions and orders to the municipality to release the records.

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