Recording a Public Meeting

May 26, 2017 - Ron Kruzeniski, Information and Privacy Commissioner

The Legislative Assembly broadcasts its proceedings over the internet. Each word spoken by an MLA is recorded and published in Hansard. Hansard is available to the public.  Similarly, committees of the Legislative Assembly are public, sometimes broadcasted and recorded in Hansard.  Both video and text are available on the Legislative Assembly web site at (www.legassembly.sk.ca/). Committees can decide to go in-camera but motions and decisions are made in the public portion of the meeting.

The City of Regina and the City of Saskatoon has council meetings which are open to the public. These council meetings are broadcast through the local cable company and live streamed on the internet.  The media present are able to take pictures, do sound recordings or video recordings. A citizen in the gallery can record the proceedings with his or her smart phone.  Saskatoon, on its website, allows access to archived council meetings.  Saskatoon live streams its standing committee meetings.  Of course, council or a committee can have an in-camera session but motions are required to be passed in a public meeting.

School boards are also required to hold their meetings in public. The minutes of these meetings are available for inspection.  A number of school boards are discussing restricting recordings by citizens or trustees of their meetings.

School board trustees are elected to office through a democratic process and they spend millions of tax payer dollars. If the Legislative Assembly and our cities can be open and transparent, I think our school boards can also be open and transparent. Yes, someone might video what a trustee says, but in a democracy aren’t we entitled to know what a trustee said and how he or she voted.

School boards should develop policies and practices to allow recordings of their public meetings, videotaping or live streaming. They might be wise to broadcast their meetings just like the Legislative Assembly, Regina and Saskatoon do.

 

 

 

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