Make a Deputation at City Hall: It's Easy

Toronto Public Space Initiative Offers Useful Guide Benson_Kua_Photo_Toronto_City_Hall_2014-02-22TORONTO - Our democracy gets stronger when citizens speak out. Our fight against jets on Toronto's waterfront is no different. And you have the chance to do speak out that at the upcoming Executive Committee meeting on the jet issue on Tuesday, March 25. At the meeting, you can speak directly to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and his inner circle (and the media)  by making a short presentation - a deputation. But how do you prepare for and make a deputation? Toronto Public Space Initiative's Tanya Gulliver has put together the following tips (slightly adapted). Background
  • Like other committee meetings, the Executive Committee meeting will begin at 9:30am at City Hall (on Queen Street).
  • If you are interested in deputing you must register with the clerk for the Executive Committee (
  • The clerk will ask for your name, organization (if applicable), phone number and address. She/he will also tell you what room the meeting will be held in, and if there is a special time for deputations that day.
  • If there isn’t an assigned time you should arrive at 9:30 am at the meeting room. Be prepared that there may be a lengthy wait.
  • When you arrive in the room you should be able to get a copy of the “Deputation List”. If this information isn’t on one of the side tables you can ask the clerk. The clerk will be sitting to the left of the chair of the committee (when you are facing the desks).
  • This list will tell you the order of the speakers and what issues they are there to depute on.
Writing the Deputation
  • Most people find it helpful to have some notes jotted down before they begin speaking. If you are nervous or don’t want to forget anything write down your whole speech. There is no problem with reading your deputation.
  • Remember you will most likely have only 3 minutes!!
  • Introduce yourself and explain why you are speaking.
  • Make your deputation as personal as possible. Explain how your concerns affect you, your family and your community.
  • Deputations that use statistics to help make a point are good, but prepared to back up the statistic if asked by a councillor.
  • End by thanking council and remind them that you will be watching their voting on this issue.
  • Practice the deputation at home to make sure it sounds okay. Note the timing to see if it needs to be shortened.
  • It's no secret that Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and the vast majority of Executive Committee members are in favour of the waterfront jet plans. Keep this in mind as you prepare.
  • There will probably be a lot of media present: write your deputation with the media in mind - they love straightforward personal stories.
  Making the Deputation
  • You will most likely have 3 minutes to make your deputation due to the expected long list of speakers (usually 5 minutes at other committee meetings). If you go over the 3 minutes the Chair of the Committee will cut you off.
  • You can make a written copy of your deputation, as well as provide background material. This should be given to the clerk who will then distribute it to the members of the Committee.
  • When your name is called you should go forward to the centre table facing the Chair of the Committee.
  • The microphone may or may not be on already. When it is on a small red light will be visible on the microphone. If it isn’t on press the large button on the base of the microphone. Pull the microphone close to you or adjust the height as necessary. You need to speak clearly and into the microphone. As an old tip goes: 'kiss' the microphone.
  • Smile and be friendly! Don’t be afraid.
  • You may be asked questions by Councillors after your deputation. If not you are free to leave or can remain to hear the debate and discussion on the issue.
Other Information
  • Call your local Councillor and tell them you will be making a deputation. Ask them to come to the meeting room to hear you.
  • Make sure you send your local Councillor a copy of your deputation.
  • Follow up and ask your local councillor whether they support your position.
  • If you are unable to be at City Hall when the deputations are happening send it in writing. All councillors on the committee will receive a copy of the written deputation.
  • If you need translation services that can be arranged by the clerk, or you may bring your own translator with you.
For further information:Executive Committee Clerk Secretariat Contact Kelly McCarthy 10th floor, West Tower, City Hall 100 Queen Street West Toronto, ON M5H 2N2 phone: 416-392-4666 fax: 416-392-1879 _________________________ Source of the original article: Toronto Public Space Initiative website, accessed 2014-03-16