Social Media Matters

An individual complained that the Rural Municipality of Breadalbane was conducting Council business on private social media pages and refusing to provide members of the public with minutes of two Council meetings. In both instances, the complainant believed the Municipality was breaching the requirements of the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

Membership on the Municipality’s social media pages, on which Council business was being posted, was restricted to individuals who resided within municipal boundaries. However, the information the complainant believed was being solely communicated through the social media pages was also available on the Municipality’s public website and on a local community announcement board visible to anyone. While the Municipality’s procedural bylaw only required that electronic notice of Council meetings be posted to its social media pages, notices were also posted publicly.  The Municipality amended its bylaw to reflect its actual practice of posting electronic notices publicly as a result of our enquiry. 

There was a delay by Council in its approval and distribution of the minutes for one of their meetings due to the illness of the individual tasked with drafting the minutes. To address this delay, Council agreed to approve the minutes of this meeting without delay so that they could be distributed as required by the MGA. While the complainant alleged that minutes were being withheld by the Municipality for a second meeting, Council told us that the meeting was a community meeting to solicit feedback.  We agreed that this type of meeting did not fall under the MGA’s requirement to publish minutes. 

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