Public hearings of Council and committee
Members of Council meet at Council and Council Committee meetings to discuss policies, bylaws, budget, city planning, and other issues.
Council public hearings and standing policy committee (SPC) meetings are a valued part of government decision-making. The meetings let City Council hear public opinions and sentiments.
Public hearing process
An upcoming Council decision may affect you. Provide your views on the issue at a public hearing or committee meeting. Provide your input in person, by phone, or by written submission. The City is committed to making public participation accessible, inclusive, and user-friendly.
Public participation opportunities
Council public hearing
Council decisions can impact communities, neighbourhoods or single properties. People can share their views on planning and land use bylaws through a public hearing. In a public hearing,
- Council must hear any person, group or person representing them who are affected by the proposed bylaw or resolution.
- The public, City staff and Council follow the rules in Council’s Procedure Bylaw (35M2017).
Standing policy committee public participation
Members of the public can speak on agenda items at standing policy committee (SPC) meetings:
- Community Development Committee
- Infrastructure and Planning Committee
When, where, and why are public hearings and SPC meetings held?
When are meetings?
Meetings begin at 9:30 a.m., unless otherwise noted.
Meetings still in progress at 9:30 p.m. may be recessed until the next business day at 1 p.m. or at another time.
See the Council calendar for dates of public hearings and committee meetings.
Where are meetings?
Council public hearings and standing policy committee (SPC) meetings are held in:
800 MacLeod Trail S.E.
Calgary, AB T2G 2M3
Why public hearings?
Public hearings are held to:
- listen to the public’s support or concerns about issues before Council votes,
- listen to public opinion on issues with large impacts on the community or property owners, and
- meet requirements of the Municipal Government Act (MGA, RSA 2000 c. M-26).
How to participate
Before the public hearing or standing policy committee meeting (SPC)
Find out about public hearing and standing policy committee meeting agenda items:
Council and Council Committee agendas are published on the website at least 2 days before a meeting.
Land use items and related bylaws are published online at Public Hearing on Planning Matters and DMap. Development notices are placed at sites with a land use or development application. Notice letters are sent by mail to affected residents.
Councillors, City business units, boards, committees, and commissions, organizations, and interest groups reach out through letters, e-mails, and social media posts.
News media and websites.
Sample land use development notice
Sample meeting agenda
Register to speak or submit a comment
Once you have found a Public hearing item you would like to speak to or submit a comment to, complete and submit the online Public Submission form.
Your comments must focus on the subject matter of the Public Hearing item and your submission must include your
- name, and
- contact information.
Written comments do not have a maximum length.
If you wish to have written material or your presentation distributed or displayed during the public hearing, you must submit your material on the online Public Submission form before the start of the public hearing.
When your online form is received, you’ll receive a confirmation with instructions on how to participate in the public hearing.
Submissions with inappropriate content and/or offensive language will not be included in the meeting agenda or shared with City Council and the public.
Personal information provided in submissions relating to matters before Council or Council Committees is collected under the authority of Bylaw 35M2017 and Section 33(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act of Alberta, and/or the Municipal Government Act (MGA) Section 230 and 636, for the purpose of receiving public participation in municipal decision-making and scheduling speakers for Council or Council Committee meetings. Your name and comments will be made publicly available in the Council agenda. Your e-mail address will not be included in the public record. If you have questions regarding the collection and use of your personal information, please contact City Clerk’s Legislative Coordinator at 403-268-5861, or City Clerk’s Office, 700 Macleod Trail S.E., P.O. Box 2100, Postal Station ‘M’ 8007, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2M5.
Prepare to participate
Here are some tips to help prepare for your public hearing item.
Define goals: Establish your goals for your public hearing presentation. Knowing what your goals are will keep your message clear.
Presentation guidelines: If you are presenting in person or remotely, keep your presentation concise, explaining why you support or oppose a recommendation. Your presentation and comments should be limited to the matter contained in the report and the recommendations being discussed. Rehearse your presentation to ensure that it is within the five-minute maximum time limit.
Public record: Public Hearing Council meetings are recorded, and written comments become a part of The City’s permanent Corporate Record. Please do not include any personal information that you would not want to disclose to City Council or the public.
Council Chamber visitor screening
All visitors to the Council Chamber must go through a metal detector. All bags, backpacks and purses are inspected.
- Visitors do not have to remove shoes, belts or jackets to pass through the metal detector. They will be asked to empty pockets prior to passing through.
- Metal detectors are safe for all individuals, including pregnant women, children and people with pacemakers (there is no exposure to radiation)
- Visitors in wheelchairs or strollers will undergo screening with a hand-held wand.
- Visitors should advise security staff if they have a medical implant that may set off the metal detector. If the alarm sounds, those visitors will require additional screening with a hand-held wand.
To avoid delays, we encourage visitors to arrive early. Visit Council Chamber Visitor Screening to learn more about visitor screening procedures and special circumstances.
During the public hearing or standing policy committee meeting
Presentation rules of conduct
The general presentation rules of conduct when speaking at a public hearing are to:
- once your name is called by the Chair, come forward to the podium or unmute your telephone;
- speak directly into the microphone or telephone; and
- clearly state your name and whether you are representing a business or group.
e.g. Hello Mayor and Council. My name is Maria Doe and I am here to speak to Item 8.1.1 on the land use amendment in Renfrew.
Arrive at City Hall Council Chambers. We recommend arriving 2 items before your item on the agenda. You can follow along with the Live Agenda to know which item is being discussed in real time. The Council Chamber is located at:
Municipal Complex 2nd floor
800 MacLeod Trail S.E.
Calgary, AB T2G 2M3
After the public hearing or standing policy committee meeting
Voting on an item
Following the participation by the public in a SPC Meeting, the SPC will vote to either:
- forward an item to Council for approval,
- make changes to an item and forward the item to Council for approval, or
- not be in favour of an item.
Following the Public Hearing and Council's debate, Council will vote to either:
- approve an item (give readings to a bylaw or vote on a resolution),
- make changes to an item and approve the item (give readings to a bylaw or vote on a resolution), or
- not be in favour of an item.
After the Council or standing policy committee (SPC) meeting, decisions can be found in the official meeting minutes and video on the website at Calgary.ca/agendaminutes
The vote on an item is final unless otherwise decided by Council. If you have questions, contact the City Clerk’s Office.
Accessibility and inclusion services
The City offers accessible and inclusive services to make participating in Council and committee meetings easier for everyone. People participating in meetings can use services including but not limited to:
- Transit Ticket Program - free bus and train tickets
- Parking Program - free parking
- Accessible Council Chamber
- American Sign Language (ASL), captioning and alternative communications services
At The City, respect is the foundation for a productive and thriving workplace. An Endorsement Statement on Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is included in the Public Submission form upon participant registration.
It is expected that all participants (Council members, City staff, and the public) behave respectfully and treat everyone with dignity and respect to allow for conversations free from bias and prejudice.
Role of public participation and submissions
City Council has the authority to make decisions that affect Calgary. These decisions can affect long-term plans for the entire city, neighbourhoods, and individual properties. Council is required by the Municipal Government Act to provide the opportunity for the public to share their views on certain topics.
Public participation in Council and Council Committee Meetings are an important element of our democratic system. Whether you choose to present in person or virtually, or submit a comment, participating in a public hearing or a standing policy committee (SPC) Meeting is an important opportunity to voice your opinion to Council members, and can provide clarity and new perspectives on the matter or issue being considered, which can influence Council’s decision.
Council and standing policy committees make decisions based on a number of considerations, including information and submissions presented by the public. Listening to the discussion, questions, and debate from members of Council and standing policy committees may help the public understand how input from the public was considered in decision-making.
For questions related to Council Chamber visitor screening, contact 311
For more information, visit the Legislative Services or contact the City Clerk's Office.