Modernizing Municipal Government

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The District Municipality of Muskoka is required by the Municipal Act to conduct a review of District Council's composition during this term of council, and then following every second regular election after that. This process includes review, for each of its lower-tier municipalities, the number of members of its council that represent the lower-tier municipality. Through this legislated review, regional municipalities have the option to increase or decrease the size of their composition, or choose to remain status quo.

How is District Council currently structured?

The Municipal Act requires that Regional Council be composed of a minimum of five members and that each area municipality be represented on this upper-tier council.

The current structure has 22 members plus the District Chair comprised of the mayors of the six lower-tier municipalities (Town of Bracebridge, Township of Georgian Bay, Town of Gravenhurst, Town of Huntsville, Township of Lake of Bays, and Township of Muskoka lakes), as well as the directly elected representatives of Bracebridge (3), Georgian Bay (2), Gravenhurst (3), Huntsville (3), Lake of Bays (2) and Muskoka Lakes (3). This composition of Council was put in place in 1970.

What Composition Changes are Being Considered?

The Municipal Modernization Committee (MMC), at its January 18, 2021 meeting passed the following motion:

Moved by P. Harding and seconded by G. Smith

THAT Muskoka District Council be reduced from 22 Members and a District Chair to 18 Members and a District Chair with equal numbers from each of the six lower-tier Municipalities comprised of the Mayor and 2 Councillors;

AND THAT a District Chair will be elected by those elected to District Council;

AND THAT the District Chair will be allowed to vote and will become a tie-break when needed;

AND THAT voting will require a majority of council to move items forward;

AND THAT an amendment to the procedural by-law to prohibit changes to the current service delivery, financial structure or cost apportionment billing models associated with the District operations unless a “significant majority” of council is in agreement;

AND THAT a “significant majority” of council will be defined as 12;

AND THAT staff be directed to provide wording on the requirement for significant majority at the next meeting of MMC to be held prior to the February 2021 District Council meeting.

It is anticipated that Council will consider all MMC recommendations at its February 16 meeting, including potential consideration of a by-law to enact the recommendation made by the MMC on January 18, 2021.

The lower-tier municipalities will then have until March 31, 2021 to consider motions of consent regarding the District by-law in order to enact a change to the size of Council’s compensation for the 2022-2026 term of Council.

We want to hear from you!

The next Municipal Modernization Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3 at 10:00 a.m.

A Special Council meeting to receive input from the public has been scheduled for Thursday, February 4 at 9:00 a.m. and information is available in the 3(2021) - Muskoka District Council Special Electronic Meeting folder.

Public Participation Instructions

Written Submissions

Members of the public who wish to provide comments to Muskoka District Council with respect to Council Composition Review are encouraged to make a written submission to the District Clerk at clerk@muskoka.on.ca or complete the form at the bottom of this page.

Oral Submissions (Deputations/Delegations)

Deputations/Delegations to Muskoka District Council with respect to Council Composition Review may occur through the Zoom platform using the information provided below:

Join from a PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone of Android device using the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84802745762?pwd=N01GdlhJV0VUMUVBK0FMNFh0ekNqZz09

Online Webinar Password: 2021#DMMCR

Or join by telephone using one of the following numbers:

1 438 809 7799, 1 587 328 1099, 1 647 374 4685

1 647 558 0588, 1 778 907 2071, 1 204 272 7920

Phone Webinar ID: 848 0274 5762

Participant ID: press the # key on your phone

Phone Password: 2021#DMMCR

For detailed instructions and assistance please review the Public Meeting Participant Instructions.

Members of the public are encouraged to view the Council proceedings through the District of Muskoka's Webcast webpage.


The District Municipality of Muskoka is required by the Municipal Act to conduct a review of District Council's composition during this term of council, and then following every second regular election after that. This process includes review, for each of its lower-tier municipalities, the number of members of its council that represent the lower-tier municipality. Through this legislated review, regional municipalities have the option to increase or decrease the size of their composition, or choose to remain status quo.

How is District Council currently structured?

The Municipal Act requires that Regional Council be composed of a minimum of five members and that each area municipality be represented on this upper-tier council.

The current structure has 22 members plus the District Chair comprised of the mayors of the six lower-tier municipalities (Town of Bracebridge, Township of Georgian Bay, Town of Gravenhurst, Town of Huntsville, Township of Lake of Bays, and Township of Muskoka lakes), as well as the directly elected representatives of Bracebridge (3), Georgian Bay (2), Gravenhurst (3), Huntsville (3), Lake of Bays (2) and Muskoka Lakes (3). This composition of Council was put in place in 1970.

What Composition Changes are Being Considered?

The Municipal Modernization Committee (MMC), at its January 18, 2021 meeting passed the following motion:

Moved by P. Harding and seconded by G. Smith

THAT Muskoka District Council be reduced from 22 Members and a District Chair to 18 Members and a District Chair with equal numbers from each of the six lower-tier Municipalities comprised of the Mayor and 2 Councillors;

AND THAT a District Chair will be elected by those elected to District Council;

AND THAT the District Chair will be allowed to vote and will become a tie-break when needed;

AND THAT voting will require a majority of council to move items forward;

AND THAT an amendment to the procedural by-law to prohibit changes to the current service delivery, financial structure or cost apportionment billing models associated with the District operations unless a “significant majority” of council is in agreement;

AND THAT a “significant majority” of council will be defined as 12;

AND THAT staff be directed to provide wording on the requirement for significant majority at the next meeting of MMC to be held prior to the February 2021 District Council meeting.

It is anticipated that Council will consider all MMC recommendations at its February 16 meeting, including potential consideration of a by-law to enact the recommendation made by the MMC on January 18, 2021.

The lower-tier municipalities will then have until March 31, 2021 to consider motions of consent regarding the District by-law in order to enact a change to the size of Council’s compensation for the 2022-2026 term of Council.

We want to hear from you!

The next Municipal Modernization Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3 at 10:00 a.m.

A Special Council meeting to receive input from the public has been scheduled for Thursday, February 4 at 9:00 a.m. and information is available in the 3(2021) - Muskoka District Council Special Electronic Meeting folder.

Public Participation Instructions

Written Submissions

Members of the public who wish to provide comments to Muskoka District Council with respect to Council Composition Review are encouraged to make a written submission to the District Clerk at clerk@muskoka.on.ca or complete the form at the bottom of this page.

Oral Submissions (Deputations/Delegations)

Deputations/Delegations to Muskoka District Council with respect to Council Composition Review may occur through the Zoom platform using the information provided below:

Join from a PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone of Android device using the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84802745762?pwd=N01GdlhJV0VUMUVBK0FMNFh0ekNqZz09

Online Webinar Password: 2021#DMMCR

Or join by telephone using one of the following numbers:

1 438 809 7799, 1 587 328 1099, 1 647 374 4685

1 647 558 0588, 1 778 907 2071, 1 204 272 7920

Phone Webinar ID: 848 0274 5762

Participant ID: press the # key on your phone

Phone Password: 2021#DMMCR

For detailed instructions and assistance please review the Public Meeting Participant Instructions.

Members of the public are encouraged to view the Council proceedings through the District of Muskoka's Webcast webpage.