Council Decision Making

How Does Council Make Decisions?

Town Council is the main governing and legislative body of the Town of Canmore. It is made up of the elected mayor and six councillors who make decisions on behalf of the people in their community.

As part of the decision-making process, Council considers the interests of the stakeholders of any particular issue, as well as those of the entire community. At the same time, they also need to ensure that decisions are made in an equitable, impartial, and legal manner. 

Accommodating the interests of constituent groups with those of the whole community is an important and challenging issue. 

One aspect of being a member of Council is always acting in the best interests of the community as a whole, despite opposing views of some who voted for them.

Governance: A Balanced Model

Good governance processes allow councillors to put forward stakeholders’ issues for formal consideration by Council. They also ensure that councillors represent the interests of the whole municipality.

An important factor in decision-making is that decisions have to be financially realistic. Council strategic plans, annual budgets, and business plans are the key tools that determine whether the proposal is both priority and is affordable.

Councillors must ensure that they consider all the available arguments and information before finally making up their minds on an issue. As well, they must be able to demonstrate that they are capable of being persuaded by the advice they receive. This doesn’t mean, however, that they must follow the advice. Instead, they must, at the very least, be able to demonstrate that they have considered it.

The Town of Canmore's governance model relies on a balance between:

Engaged Citizens Public Service Council
A diverse, active, engaged public identifies issues, gives input and feedback, partners with the Town of Canmore on local matters, and plays an important role in shaping the community. The public is encouraged to get involved, speak to or submit comments to council, attend meetings, and vote in municipal elections. Led by the Chief Administrative Officer (council’s only employee), Town of Canmore staff provide objective, professional advice to council, and implement council's decisions according to Town of Canmore policy as well as standards and principles of effective public service. The legislative body for the Town of Canmore, Council has a duty to balance community-wide and individual considerations. They participate in strategic and fiscal planning and represent the Town of Canmore to other levels of governments. The mayor and councillors each have one vote - no one can overrule the other members.

When Council members are deciding how to vote there are many things to take into consideration:

Community Input

When Council is deciding on a program, a new proposal, or an emerging issue, they usually review reports and briefings at Council meetings. Reports are written by staff with expertise in the subject, for example planning, civil engineering, or community social development. The reports can present different options for how the Town of Canmore can proceed, discuss any past decisions on the same matter, and make recommendations to help Council make its decisions.

The community has a role throughout Council’s decision-making process. As issues move from idea to decision, community input is critical. Members of the community can connect with the mayor, councillors, speak with Town of Canmore staff, engage at public hearings, participate in community groups, and of course, vote in municipal elections. 

Read more about the Town of Canmore’s Public Participation Policy (1.20 MB) .