Glossary of Terms
Terms Heard at Council Meetings
Call the Question: This is usually said when individual Council members feel that the discussion has gone on long enough on any particular item and they request the Chair to call the vote on the particular motion being discussed.
Challenge the Chair: This occurs when the Chairperson, i.e. the Mayor, makes a procedural ruling during the debate and an individual Council member will ask for a vote to challenge the ruling of the Chair.
Conflict of Interest: A member of Council who has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any matter to be decided upon openly has a conflict of interest and refrains from voting on or discussing the matter.
Defer: This occurs when the Council concludes that a particular item should be deferred for further consideration at the next or a subsequent Council meeting.
Extension of Time: The Procedure By-law provides that meetings of Council shall terminate at 11:00 p.m. subject to an extension to 12:00 midnight upon a vote of a majority of Council. At 12:00 midnight, the unfinished business shall be deferred to the next regular meeting of Council unless a resolution of Council to re-convene the Council Meeting to another day and time prior to the next regular meeting of Council is adopted by majority vote.
In-Camera: a meeting or portion thereof, which is closed to the public in accordance with the Municipal Act R.S.O. c.M.45 as amended.
Point of Order: This may be introduced by an individual Council member if he or she feels that a particular procedure is not being followed properly during the debate.
Point of Privilege: Council members occasionally insist on the privilege of responding, usually for purposes of clarification, to an alleged incorrect or improper statement, which, in the opinion of such member, reflects adversely on his/her motives.
Quorum: The Council consists of 11 members. The Procedure By-law provides that a quorum is 6 members. Council meetings cannot commence, or continue, if they have already started, unless there is a quorum in attendance.
Reconsideration: This occurs when a member of Council wishes to bring back for further discussion a matter which has previously been decided on by Council.
Recorded Vote: the recording in the Council Minutes, the names of each member present and the manner of their vote on a matter or question before Council. In the case of a member who has declared a conflict on the matter or question, the minutes shall reflect the member abstained from the vote.
Refer: This occurs when the Council concludes that a particular item should be referred back to the Administration for further review or alternatively to an outside agency or individual for their comments.
Striking Committee: Numerous appointments are made by Council during its term of office to various Committees, Boards and Agencies and these appointments are recommended to Council by the Striking Committee (which is actually the Committee of the Whole) meeting in closed session.
Tie Vote: This occurs when the number of votes for and against a particular resolution is identical. In such cases the Mayor has the option of casting the deciding vote if he or she wishes. If the total number of votes cast both for and against is equal, the resolution is lost.
Council Services Department
Suite 530 - 350 City Hall Square West
For general information, call 311.
For detailed inquiries, call (519) 255-6211 or
Fax: (519) 255-6868