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Questions and Answers about amendments included in the Government Efficiency Act, 2002

The Ministry is providing these Frequently Asked Questions to assist public libraries in understanding the amendments contained in the Government Efficiency Act, 2002 to the Public Libraries Act. These questions and answers are general discussions and you should not rely upon them as legal advice. They are not intended as a substitute for legal advice. For further questions relating to these questions or your particular circumstances, you must consult with your own legal advisors.

Why did the government amend the Public Libraries Act?

The government has amended the Public Libraries Actto:

  • increase flexibility for municipalities;
  • clarify the legislation;
  • harmonize the Act with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
  • make municipal terminology in the legislation consistent with that of the Municipal Act, 2001; and
  • remove references in the Public Libraries Act to improvement districts, as they are obsolete organizational structures.

Cutting unnecessary red tape will ensure that public library board appointments are efficient, transparent and accountable.

Why were these amendments announced as part of the Fall 2002 Government Efficiency Bill?

The proposed Public Libraries Act amendments were included in the Fall 2002 Government Efficiency Bill because they are consistent with the Red Tape Commission's mandate to eliminate existing red tape and prevent unnecessary rules and regulations from being created in the future.

What amendments increase flexibility for municipalities?

The amendments on library board composition and appointments increase municipal flexibility by:

  • Removing detailed requirements on the size of the library board related to the size of the municipality and type of board, and replacing them with a minimum number of five board members;
  • Leaving the decision on whether to appoint school board representatives up to municipal council;
  • Extending the amount of time for making board appointments; and
  • Permitting a library board to be represented on another library board, when it enters into a contract to purchase library services for its residents.

Ontario is giving more flexibility to municipalities in their appointment of library boards.

Cutting unnecessary red tape will ensure that public library board appointments are efficient, transparent and accountable.

With the repeal of S.9 (3) of the Public Libraries Act, will municipalities still be able to appoint school board representatives to library boards?

The repeal of S.9 (3) of the Public Libraries Act does not preclude municipalities from appointing school board representatives to library boards.

The Act will simply no longer require school board representation on library boards.

Cutting unnecessary red tape will ensure that public library board appointments are efficient, transparent and accountable.

Do these amendments affect library board size?

Yes. The amendments remove detailed requirements on the size of the library board related to the size of the municipality and type of library board, and replaces them with a requirement for a minimum number of five board members.

This gives municipal councils more flexibility in appointing public library boards.

Which amendments clarify the legislation?

There are four amendments designed to clarify the legislation:

  • Amending S.5 (4) clarifies that previous library boards dissolve when two or more municipalities establish a union library board;
  • Amending S.7 (5) which applies the same logic to counties, with the exception that it only affects those municipalities that decide to take part in the county library that is being established (i.e. existing library boards established by municipalities that do not wish to participate in the county library are not dissolved upon the establishment of a county library);
  • Amending S.28 (1) and (2) harmonizes the Public Libraries Act with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; and
  • Amending S. 10 clarifies that municipalities, local services boards and First Nations Bands that contract for library services with union library boards and county library boards are qualified to be represented on those boards.

Why were Public Libraries Act S.28 (1) and (2) amended?

Public Libraries Act S. 28 (1) and (2) are amended to harmonize the Act with the privacy provisions in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Library boards are already subject to Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act as local boards of municipalities.

The Public Libraries Act will continue to allow for the inspection of records under S.28 (1). However, Public Libraries Act S.28 (2) will now indicate that the secretary shall refuse to allow an inspection under subsection (1) in circumstances in which a head must refuse disclosure under any of sections 6 to 16 of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the secretary may refuse to allow an inspection under subsection (1) in circumstances in which a head may refuse disclosure under any of those sections of that Act.

Why were Public Libraries Act S. 5 (4) and S.7 (5) amended?

Public Libraries Act S.5 (4) was amended to clarify that previous library boards dissolve when two or more municipalities establish a union library board.

The amendment of S.7 (5) applies the same logic to counties, with the exception that it only affects those municipalities that decide to take part in the county library that is being established (i.e. existing library boards established by municipalities that do not wish to participate in the county library are not dissolved upon the establishment of a county library).

Why was the reference to improvement districts in the Public Libraries Act removed?

We amended the Public Libraries Act to remove references to improvement districts, as they no longer exist.