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Council in Brief: Jan. 23

Thunder Bay’s city council heard a review of accessibility in the 2022 election, appointed citizens to committees, and renewed its integrity commissioner on Monday.
Thunder Bay City Hall

THUNDER BAY — It was all business and no drama as Thunder Bay’s city council held a brief meeting Monday to hear a review of accessibility in the 2022 municipal election, choose an integrity commissioner for the 2022-2026 term, and fill more spots on city committees with citizen members.

Councillors will meet again at city hall on Wednesday for the third of four detailed review meetings to set the 2023 budget, with policing, Victoriaville, and the city manager’s office under the microscope.

Election review suggests accessibility training

A legislated accessibility review of Thunder Bay’s recent municipal election recommends introducing accessibility training for all poll workers, but found few significant challenges encountered by voters with disabilities in 2022.

The review also noted a privacy issue with the city’s deployment of accessible voting technology at polling places, suggesting a chance ahead of the next municipal election in 2026.

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Integrity commissioners reappointed

Council reappointed Principles Integrity as the city’s integrity commissioner on Monday. The firm has filled the role since 2020, and has worked with dozens of other Ontario municipalities.

Staff recommended issuing a sole source contract to Principle Integrity, citing low interest in an RFP issued in 2019 and saying it’s a common approach by municipalities in what is a specialized field.

The city budgets $30,000 annually for the service, but actual expenses have been closer to $15,000 in recent years.

Principles Integrity was also appointed as the city’s closed door meeting investigator, reviewing complaints about the use of closed meetings.

City fills more committee spots

Council appointed 17 citizens to various city committees and boards on Monday, with former councillor and mayoral candidate Peng You joining the sister cities committee.

One spot remained conspicuously vacant — the city still has not appointed a citizen member to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, despite staff saying an announcement would come “soon” back in November.

The city says 14 other citizen spots remain open and will be open to community applications again in March. Residents can learn more at the city's website.

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Ian Kaufman

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