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The Role of Council

The City of London has one Mayor, and one Councillor elected to represent each of the City's 14 wards.

Role of Council Members

The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAH) has published a document called, "The Municipal Councillor's Guide." This guide provides an overview of the many duties and challenges elected officials at the municipal level face.


The MAH guide is the source of this abbreviated description for the role of head of Council, which in the City of London is referred to as the Mayor:

  • to act as the municipality's chief executive officer;

  • to preside over council meetings such that business is carried out both efficiently and effectively;

  • to provide leadership to the council;

  • to provide information/recommendations to council on policies, practices, procedures, to ensure transparency and accountability; and,

  • to represent the municipality at official functions.


This abbreviated description for the role of ward Councillor is based on the guide published by MAH:

  • to represent the public and to consider the well- being and interests of the municipality;

  • to develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality;

  • to determine which services the municipality provides;

  • to maintain the financial integrity of the municipality;

  • to ensure that administrative policies practices are in place to implement the decisions of council; and,

  • to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality.


Municipal councillors also sit as members of a number of Standing Committees. These committees carry out much of the work of council and then report back to council with recommendations. As a member of municipal council, you would be required to attend meetings of the Standing Committees on which you are a member, and also to attend meetings of the full City Council.


Frequently Asked Questions:


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  • Who makes decisions with respect to the membership of Standing Committees?

    Council Members advise what Standing Committees they are interested in sitting on, in their order of preference.  Those submissions are debated at the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee (SPPC), on which all Council Members sit.   A recommendation then goes forward from the SPPC for formal approval by Council, through the usual majority voting process.

  • Is there a minimum number of meetings Councillors must attend?

    Council Members are expected to attend all Council and Standing Committee meetings that they have voting membership on.  However, it is recognized that in rare situations this is not always possible (e.g. illness, out of town business, etc.)

  • Can Councillors participate at meetings by electronic web video link or by proxy vote?

    Provincial legislation does not permit members to participate at meetings by web video link or proxy vote.

  • How do Councillors engage their ward?

    Methods of ward engagement vary from Council Member to Council Member, based upon their own personal preference and needs.  Some use town hall meetings, some use social media, some use printed newsletters, etc.

  • How is the meeting schedule determined?

    The Council Procedure By-law dictates the day of the week meetings are held and the City Clerk drafts an annual meeting calendar for Council’s approval based on the By-law requirements.

  • Are there season meeting breaks?

    There is only one meeting cycle in each of July and August (usually two meeting cycles per month) and City Hall is closed between Christmas and New Years’ Day.

  • Are Councillors' employers flexible with the Council meeting schedule?

    Candidates are expected to ensure they can accommodate their Council responsibilities within their personal work schedules.  Employers are not obliged to accommodate the Council schedule.

  • What is required to be eligible for holding office?

    Eligibility for holding office is dictated by the Municipal Elections Act.

  • Is there a possibility of an election prior to the scheduled Election Day?

    If a seat on Council becomes vacant in the course of a Council term, provincial law allows for the option of holding a by-election or Council can decide to appoint a replacement for that vacant seat in keeping with provincial law.

  • Can a member of the public join an Advisory Committee?

    Advisory Committees are a great opportunity for the general public to assist the Council with its decision-making.  No Council Members can be a voting member on an advisory committee.  Council considers applications for appointments to Advisory Committees.

  • Is the Mayor an ex-officio member of most Standing Committees?

    The Mayor Chairs the Corporate Services Committee and the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee.  He is automatically a voting member of all other standing committees because he/she holds the office of Mayor.

  • Do Councillors have preferences with respect to which Boards they sit on?

    Often Council Members run for office because they are motivated by a particular cause or interest.  They may also bring particular experience or expertise in a particular area.  As a result, they often seek appointment to certain boards and commissions that fit well with their experience, expertise and interests, and appointments that fit well into their schedules.

  • How many Standing Committees can a Councillor Chair?

    There is no limit to the number of Standing Committee a Councillor can Chair, but generally, with the exception of the Mayor, Council Members do not chair more than one standing committee at a time.

  • Will the Standing Committee structure be revised?

    There have been a number of changes to the standing committee structure in recent years.  At this point in time, there are no further changes anticipated to the current structure.  However Council has the authority to change the structure if it chose to do so.

  • Are Councillors paid more per Standing Committee they sit on?

    Councillors are paid the same no matter how many Standing Committees they sit on. However, they do receive a very small additional stipend if they are serving as chair, with the exception of the Mayor, given the extra work traditionally associated with that role. They only receive that additional stipend once in a year, no matter how many Standing Committees they chair.

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