Saanich council temporarily suspends open forum as meetings go electronic in light of COVID-19

Residents encouraged to provide input by email

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing recommendations from the provincial health authorities, Saanich council has unanimously agreed to cancel open forum at meetings for the foreseeable future.

During a council meeting on March 23, at the recommendation of Saanich staff and Mayor Fred Haynes, Coun. Karen Harper moved to “suspend the council procedure bylaw in order to cancel open forum until further notice.”

READ ALSO: March 24 world COVID-19 update: Olympics postponed, confusion in Britain

Open forum is the section of council meetings where the public can present on any district-related subject for up to three minutes.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers seconded the motion and Harper then explained that aside from the fact that council will be conducting meetings electronically moving forward, having open forum is a health concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Physical distancing is important and this is a part of that,” she said.

All Saanich public hearings, advisory committees, standing committees, board, foundation and commission meetings have also been cancelled until further notice – with the exception of the standing committee on finance and governance.

READ ALSO: Saanich allows some electronic meetings to hinder spread of COVID-19

The Monday evening meeting was the last-in-person meeting until further notice, explained District spokesperson Megan Catalano. She added that moving forward, councillors will participate in meetings by calling in. All meetings will continue to be webcast but with audio only.

Residents will be able to submit comments and feedback on council proceedings prior to meetings by email at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusDistrict of Saanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria resident shares joy in horseshoe pitching competitions from home

Horseshoe Pitching Online offers everyone the chance to compete

Life mimics art for actors in play about pandemic

Performers from Oak Bay theatre school see parallels with recent play based on 1918 Spanish flu

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

New immigrants to Victoria have online options to combat isolation

The Inter-Cultural Association is going digital to comply with COVID-19 standards

VicPD expands online reporting to keep 911 call-takers free during pandemic

Incidents can be reported online if no information is known of a suspect

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Most Read