– believed to be the first of its kind in Canada – that outlines how the municipal government operates and the by-laws, legislation, policies and procedures that govern it.
Designed primarily as a resource for new members of Council, the User Guide has been made publicly available so that it can be used by residents who want to better understand how City Hall works and by people interested in running for Council who want to learn more about what would be expected of them. It will also serve as an ongoing resource and reference guide for City employees and members of Council.
Council’s Governance Committee will learn more about the guide at its meeting today.
“I have always wanted to see an accessible guide to our local government,” said Mayor Karen Farbridge. “The workings of City Hall can seem quite mysterious to people, and I hope this guide will help demystify it.”
The guide is divided into three sections, covering Council and its governance practices; civic administration and how it is managed; and community and how to get involved.
The User Guide is consistent with Guelph’s commitment to open government principles of transparency, innovation, participation and accountability. Said Mayor Farbridge, “By providing this one-stop guide to how City government operates and why it operates that way, we hope to empower citizens to be more involved in decision-making – one of the fundamental goals of open government.”
The User Guide will be part of a comprehensive orientation program for members of Council following the 2014 municipal election. That program will include a two-day orientation workshop; training sessions on specific topics during the first year of the term; and a series of online learning tools.
The City also plans to make use of the guide in talks with elementary and secondary students during its annual Local Government Week program in October.
As an online resource, the guide will be updated regularly. Readers are encouraged to provide feedback on the guide through the “feedback and participation” link on the front page of the site. The User Guide can be found at