Regulation - LGIC

Proposed Changes to In-person Attendance Requirements for Board and Committee Meetings (Ontario Regulation 463/97)

Regulation Number(s):
O. Reg. 463/97
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Education Act
Summary of Proposal:
The Ministry of Education is seeking input from stakeholders on a proposed amendment to a Lieutenant Governor in Council (LGIC) regulation, Ontario Regulation 463/97 - "Electronic Meetings and Meeting Attendance", made under the Education Act.

Currently, all school boards must adopt a policy for the use of electronic means to hold meetings of the board and its committees. That policy must include mandatory elements set out in O. Reg. 463/97.

In-person attendance requirements were temporarily in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the suspension expired on November 15, 2022.
The proposed amendments to O. Reg. 463/97 are intended to address the impact of physical attendance requirements on geographically large northern and rural boards. The proposed amendments also reinforce the importance of public access to board and committee meetings with trustees attending in person to promote and enhance accountability, transparency, and public confidence in the education system.

The Ministry invites feedback from stakeholders on the following proposals:

Pursuant to subsections 5(1) and 5(2) of O. Reg. 463/97, each board's policy on electronic meetings must require that the chair of the board, the chair of a committee, or the designate of either be physically present at every meeting of the board or a committee of the whole board in each year of the term of office.

In addition, pursuant to subsection 5.1(1) of the regulation, board policy may provide that the chair/committee chair or their designate can participate electronically if:
• the distance from their current residence to the meeting location is 200 kilometers or
• weather conditions do not allow travel to the meeting location safely; or
• they cannot be physically present at a meeting due to health-related issues.

However, pursuant to subsection 5.1(2) of the regulation, if board policy allows the exceptions above to the requirements for a Chair or their designate to attend meetings in person, the policy must also require the Chair or designate to attend in person for at least half the meetings of the board during each year of the term of office.

Pursuant to subsection 6.1(1) of the regulation, a trustee (who is not in the role of Chair or designate) must be physically present for at least three (3) regular meetings of the board in each year of their term of office, with limited exceptions. Under clause 228(1)(e) of the Education Act, failure to meet this requirement results in the trustee's seat becoming vacant.

Effective on the date of filing of the proposed amending regulation, the proposed amendment would require each board's electronic meeting policy to include the following four exceptions to the requirements in the regulation for in-person attendance by a trustee (this would include a trustee in the role of a Chair or their designate):
• the distance from the trustee's primary residence to the meeting location is 125
kilometers or more;
• weather conditions do not allow the trustee to travel to the meeting location safely;
• the trustee cannot be physically present at a meeting due to health-related issues; or
• the trustee has a disability that makes attending meetings in-person more challenging
may participate electronically, as necessary.

For clarity, "primary residence" must be within the area of jurisdiction of the board.

A further proposed change would be, effective November 15, 2026, and would require each board's policy to include a requirement that all trustees (including those in the role of Chair or designate) be physically present for all regular meetings of the board in each year of the term of office, unless one of the exceptions to the requirement for in person attendance applies.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The proposed regulatory amendments are not expected to result in new or incremental direct compliance or administrative costs for regulated entities. Increased flexibility provided through regulatory amendments may result in cost savings.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
February 27, 2024
Comments Due Date:
April 2, 2024
Contact Address:
Education Equity and Governance Secretariat
Ministry of Education
315 Front St. W. 13th Floor
Toronto, ON M5V 0B8