Regional district committees and commissions
Regional districts may establish committees and commissions to provide advice or undertake work on behalf of the regional district board. These formally established bodies may be advisory in nature, or in some cases may be delegated the responsibility for the operation and administration of services.
Types of committees and commissions
Select and standing committees
A standing committee meets regularly and typically has a broader mandate than a select committee, which is appointed for a special purpose.
A regional district board chair may establish standing committees for matters the chair considers would be better dealt with by committee. The board chair may appoint persons to those committees.
Only the board as a whole has the power to appoint select committees and also appoint persons to those committees.
Each standing or select committee must include at least one board director, and may include individuals who are not directors.
Select and standing committees of the board are subject to many procedural rules that are similar to those that apply to a board meeting (for example, the taking of minutes). The procedure rules are usually established in the board procedure bylaw.
Many local governments establish advisory committees as a means of seeking input from a broad or select stakeholder group on particular issues. Though advisory committees are not set out explicitly in provincial legislation, the ability to seek advice external to the board is implied in corporate powers.
Regional district boards have authority to establish commissions to share the workload or provide input on more operational matters. Commissions are commonly used to:
- Operate services of the regional district
- Undertake enforcement in relation to the regional district’s regulatory authority
- Manage property, or an interest in property, held by the regional district
A regional district may delegate decision-making powers for services to a community commission for greater potential for community involvement. Characteristics that may lead to the creation of a local community commission include:
- The community is geographically independent and the boundary is fairly easy to define
- Local services such as water, sewer and fire protection are being provided by a regional district
- Community members have a high interest in the services being delivered
- The community has some characteristics of a municipality but it is not ready for incorporation
Unlike other committees and commissions, a local community commission is composed of the electoral area director and up to six commissioners directly elected by the voters in the local community to be administered by the commission.
Local community commissions may deal with more operational issues than appointed commissions. Local community commissions hold annual general meetings and the method of election may be customized to suit the community needs (if not, the rules for electing electoral area directors apply). A regional district receives funding for each local community commission located within its boundaries.
A local community commission may only be established in an electoral area by bylaw which must first be supported by voters in the community through an assent vote and must be approved by the Inspector of Municipalities.
If the local community commission is to have responsibility for operating services, the board needs to specify which services the local community commission is responsible for, and clearly articulate the level of decision-making that is delegated with respect to those services and the terms and conditions that apply.
Delegation of authority
A regional district board can delegate some of its authority to a committee or commission. However, not all committees or commissions are delegated authority, in many cases they are only established with an advisory role, such as local advisory planning commissions. These do not have any direct approval, ownership, or authority over matters that are referred to it.
Regional districts can also delegate authority to individual board members, regional district staff. Any delegation of authority is subject to certain restrictions -– for example, regional districts cannot delegate authority to make a bylaw or any power or duty exercisable only by bylaw, such as setting the annual budget for a service.