[Update: Vancouver City Council unanimously passed the enhanced enforcement bylaw with an amendment to include monthly reports related to fines and enforcements issued under this bylaw]
The agenda for a Vancouver City Council Special Meeting was posted after 10 pm on Sunday, March 22nd. Mayor Stewart made the announcement about the meeting after 4 pm on Sunday. This special meeting will begin at 10 am on Monday, March 23rd. Speakers to the motion have until 9 am to sign up. Council will also go in-camera to discuss ‘labour relations or other employee relations.’ There are no other actions planned for this meeting.
The proposed enhanced enforcement bylaw will allow fines up to $50,000 to be levied. It will also also add a new ticket offence section for fines up to $1,000 for the failure to obey a police officer, chief license inspector or fire chief. The proposed changes come in response to concerns that social distancing guidelines for individuals and other provisions for businesses to control the COVID-19 pandemic were not being followed.
For reference, we’ve reproduced the agenda for the Special Council Meeting further below. Just for the record, here are some additional thoughts and questions.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, what is the City doing to house, feed and clothe the homeless? The emergency declaration gives the City the power to act. What is the City doing to help renters who are potentially facing eviction from failing to make their rents on April 1st (after losing their jobs as a result of the crisis)? What is the City doing to help small businesses that have been forced to shut down?
It is also worth noting that it’s not only the Mayor who can call meetings. If six of the Councillors agree, they can call a meeting and set the agenda.
With the “Enhanced Enforcement” of this bylaw, City Council is authorizing three bureaucrats to act in this emergency (see text). What measures are in place for accountability, oversight, transparency, review, and reporting?
Special Council agenda
March 23, 2020
Date and location: Monday, March 23, 2020 10:00 am
Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall
- This Special Council meeting is to be convened by electronic means as authorized by Part 14 of the Procedure By-law and the Vancouver Charter.
- Members of the public may attend at the Council Chamber in City Hall to hear the public part of the proceeding, but are strongly urged to listen to the proceedings via the City’s website.
- Requests to speak must be received prior to 9:00 am on the day of the meeting however, speakers are encouraged to submit comments in lieu of attending in person.
- Health protocols associated with COVID-19 will be observed for all members of the public and any speakers in attendance.
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1. Enhanced Enforcement of By-law No. 12661, “A By-law to declare a State of Emergency in Vancouver”
Recommendation A requires 2/3 affirmative votes of all Council members per Section 173 of the Vancouver Charter.
2. Motion to go In Camera
THAT Council will go into meetings later this week which are closed to the public, pursuant to Section 165.2(1) of the Vancouver Charter, to discuss matters related to paragraph:
(c) labour relations or other employee relations.
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