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posted on February 16, 2006

Fact sheet on City of Toronto community Boards of Management

Belinda Cole's recent research into the possibility of establishing a board of management to run the rink at Dufferin Grove looked at the Municipal Act, 2001 and city by-laws which govern the creation and operation of boards of management.

Is it possible to create a Board of Management for Dufferin Rink (or other rinks across the City?)

Yes. The City has the power to decide whether or not to set up a board of management. It is, essentially, a political decision by Council.

What are the circumstances under which the City can create a board of management? What criteria must it consider?

There is nothing in the law or by-laws which set out any criteria Council should or must consider when it decides whether or not to create a board of management.

What does the law say about how and when a board of management can be created?

1) the Municipal Act, 2001;

The Act deals with the following key issues:

  • Council can delegate all or part of the City’s powers to the board of management. Council is free to place any limits or conditions on the powers it delegates to the board
  • The board must have at least 3 members, who are appointed by Council (the by-laws state)
  • When the city sets up a board of management, it can no longer exercise any of the responsibilities it has delegated to the board of management
  • The board must use the revenues generated by running the service (e.g. the rink) for the operation of the service
  • Any surplus revenues from running the rink must be paid back to the City

2) The City by-laws contained in chapter 25 of the Toronto Municipal Code entitled Community and Recreation Centres deal with a number of specifics matters. Among its key provisions, it sets out how a board is to be set up and run, and the responsibilities and limits of the powers of board members:

  • Who sits on the board
    • the councillor for the ward is a member of the board, and in the case of most boards, board members are nominated by the community the board serves
  • the board must elect officers and hold board at least 6 meetings in a year, with no more than 3 months between meetings
  • The board must maintain proper banking arrangements and accounting principles and records acceptable to the City Auditor, and prepare annual audited financial statements
  • The board is solely responsibility for all costs and expenses for running the service (although in practice, as set out later in the by-law dealing with specific boards, there is a wide spectrum of the duties and responsibilities a board assumes)
  • The board cannot incur any liability for any capital projects with the City’s prior consent
  • The board must maintain insurance for public liability and property damage
  • The board must observe all laws which relate to the use and running of the premises
  • The duty of the board is set out as follows:
  • "The Board shall at all times endeavour to manage and control the premises in a reasonable and efficient manner, in accordance with standard good business practice and without cost to the City"
  • The board has a duty to properly maintain the premises

The by-law then sets out how each of the existing 10 Association of Community Centres ("AOCC’s") and a number of arenas are to be run. There is a very wide spectrum as to the extent of responsibilities a Board assumes. For example, some Boards take on all of the responsibilities for the entire operation while for other facitilites, the City takes on many of the operating costs and provides certain services.

General information – Association of Community Centres ("AOCCs")

The existing ten AOCCs in the City were established between 1974-1992.

In March 2003, the City addressed the existence, governance and future of AOCCs. In a report prepared by the City Clerk’s office to the Policy and Finance Committee concerning Agencies, Boards and Committees. The ad Hoc Committee which looked at the governance of AOCCs described them as a a hybrid, half independent non-profit and half a city creature. The Committee recommended that the City continue to provide core funding to AOCCs.

With respect to the creation of new AOCC’s, the report recommended that a process be established to determine if the City's minimum criteria to become an AOCC. It suggested that the "Procedure for Future Development of City Funded Recreation and Community Centres" developed by the 1982 Task Force on Neighbourhood Social and Recreational Services be used as a starting point. To date, there appear to be no more recent guidelines or criteria concerning the establishment of new AOCCs

In 2006, City staff recommended an operating budget of $ 6 million for the 10 centres (ranging from $ 315,000 for Applegrove to $ 973,000 for Harbourfront Community Centre to $ 1,022,000 for 519 Church Street)


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