Mayor and councillors

Each municipal council in B.C. consists of a mayor and councillors. All members of council have a number of responsibilities while in office. Through a majority vote, council members make collective decisions in the best interests of their communities.

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Mayor responsibilities

The mayor is the head and chief executive officer of the municipality. The mayor has all the responsibilities of a councillor plus a number of additional responsibilities. Under the Community Charter the mayor must:

  • Provide leadership to council including by recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures that may assist in the peace, order and good governance of the municipality
  • Reflect the will of council and carry out other duties on behalf of council, such as attending ceremonies and meetings of other bodies
  • Communicate information to council, for example from the chief administrative officer or from meetings with other bodies
  • Chair council meetings, including overseeing their conduct, maintaining order and knowing the rules of governing meetings
  • Establish standing committees and appoint people to those committees
  • Provide, on behalf of council, general direction to municipal officers about implementation of municipal policies, programs and other council directions
  • Suspend municipal officers and employees if the mayor believes this is necessary, subject to confirmation by council under section 151 of the Community Charter

Councillor responsibilities

Under the Community Charter a municipal councillor must:

  • Consider the well-being and interests of the municipality and its community
  • Contribute to the development and evaluation of municipal policies and programs respecting its services and other activities
  • Participate in council and committee meetings and contribute to decision making
  • Carry out other duties as assigned by the council, such as heading committees or being the liaison to a particular neighbourhood in the municipality
  • Follow the rules in legislation, bylaws and council policies that establish any additional duties and set how council members exercise their authority

Municipal council responsibilities

Municipal councils are empowered to address the existing and future needs of their community by making collective decisions that are recorded in bylaws or resolutions. Each member of council, including the mayor, is entitled to one vote on matters that come before them for discussion and decision. Such matters are wide-ranging--for example, regulatory bylaws such as animal control, services such as fire and police, land use regulation such as zoning, fees and property tax bylaws, and key plans such as the official community plan and five year financial plan (budget).

Ultimately, municipal councils are responsible for the delivery of local services to their community and the actions taken by the municipality. As municipalities are legislatively recognized by the B.C. government as an order of government with in their jurisdiction, these responsibilities are undertaken largely independently with limited oversight by other levels of government. Certain decisions made by council are not effective until they are approved or authorized by the provincial government, such as long-term borrowing bylaws or municipal boundary changes.

Oath of office

Once elected or appointed to the municipal council, each council member must complete an oath (or solemn affirmation) of office. If a council member fails to complete their oath of office within a specified period of time, they can be disqualified from holding office. The municipality may create its own oath of office or use the one prescribed in the Local Government Elections Regulation.

Council member remuneration

Remuneration for mayors and councillors vary by municipality. Being a council member in a large municipality may require more of a time commitment than in a smaller municipality and salaries often reflect this. In some municipalities being a council member is a full-time job, whereas in other municipalities council members are able to effectively fulfil their duties on a part-time basis. A municipality may choose remuneration amounts that it feels are appropriate.