Toronto, Ontario Task Force to Bring Back the Don

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Toronto, Canada

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Type: Bylaws

Status: Launched in 1989

Source File:


Terms of Reference

1. Goal:
The Task Force to Bring Back the Don is committed to "bringing back" a clean, green and accessible Don River within the City of Toronto.

2. Principles
The Task Force to Bring Back the Don operates in accordance to three principles:

  • The Task Force is a "citizen-driven" advisory body of City Council;
  • The Task Force works with natural processes to bring back the Don; and
  • The Task Force is committed to working in partnership with all agencies and organizations that share its goal.

3. Mandate

  • Educate and involve Toronto's citizens in the restoration of the Don River Watershed;
  • Fundraise and establish partnerships for Don River restoration projects;
  • Undertake Don River restoration projects in partnership with City departments, outside agencies, community groups, the private sector, and individual volunteers;
  • Act as a watchdog and advise City Council with respect to issues affecting the Don;
  • Work with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and its Don Watershed Regeneration Council;
  • Advise City Council with respect to the establishment of City-sponsored stewardship groups in conjunction with other City environmental initiatives; and
  • Work with community-based stewardship groups from this and other Toronto watersheds on river restoration issues and responses.

4. Composition:
The Task Force to Bring Back the Don shall be made up of 23 members, including three Councillors and 20 citizen members who are residents of the City of Toronto and who have a commitment to and interest in the Don River and its watershed. The Chair and Vice-Chair(s) shall be chosen by the Task Force from among the citizen members.

5. Term of Appointment:
Task Force members are appointed for the Term of Council, or until their successors are appointed.

The Task Force shall elect a Citizen Chair and Vice-Chair(s) at the beginning of each term, or as determined by the Task Force.

6. Quorum and Attendance:
A quorum is 50 percent of the community members;

  • Members of Council appointed to the Task Force will be counted to make up quorum if they are present;
  • A vacant position will not be counted to calculate quorum.

If there is no quorum present 15 minutes after the start of the meeting, the secretary shall call the roll and record the names of the members present.

In order to be a member in good standing, regular attendance at meetings is required. A member who is absent for three consecutive meetings, without providing the committee with written or verbal notification and reason for such absence, shall be deemed to have resigned from the position.

7. Compensation:
Members and volunteers may be reimbursed for approved expenses that are incurred in accordance with City purchasing policies, and that are incurred while engaged in Task Force business.

8. Meetings:
The Task Force to Bring Back the Don meetings shall, generally, be held monthly or at the call of the chair, with the provision that at least nine meetings shall be held per year. Meetings are open to the public.

Decisions are reached by majority vote.

The meeting announcement and proposed agenda shall be available through the City Clerk's office according to Clerk's Office policies and procedures.

9. Staff Support:
The Task Force's agendas and minutes are currently prepared by staff of the City Clerk's Secretariat Division. The Task Force will be supported by City Planning, Policy and Research and by Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division, as well as by other staff of the City's service areas as warranted.

10. Reporting:
The Task Force to Bring Back the Don shall report, in consultation with staff, principally to the Parks and Environment Committee of the City of Toronto Council and to other standing committees, departments, agencies, boards and commissions as required. Joint reporting may be appropriate in some cases, depending on the subject and on departmental and standing committee interests.

11. Teams:
Members of the Task Force are expected to participate actively on at least one working team. Teams are mandated to implement Task Force programs and decisions, make recommendations to the Task Force, and are required to report on their activities at Task Force meetings. Team Chairs shall be elected by the respective team. Teams are open to full participation by the public.

The location and frequency of team meetings shall be at the discretion of the Chair of each Team and of the Task Force to Bring Back the Don.

Teams will be supported by staff, where possible, with expertise pertinent to the focus of each team meeting.

While the Task Force to Bring Back the Don may modify the number and purpose of Teams according to its priorities, the current structure shall consist of the following three teams:

1. Habitat Restoration Team directs Task Force habitat protection, creation, and restoration projects, and stewardship projects, and advises the Task Force on related city policies.
2. Communications, Outreach and Marketing Team co-ordinates Task Force communications strategy, including the regular Seasonal Update newsletter, the Task Force's website, and other publications and media material as required.
3. Planning/Policy Team deals with land use planning issues and City policies affecting the Don watershed.

12. Declaration of Conflict of Interest:
Where a Task Force member or Team member has a pecuniary interest in a matter before the Task Force to Bring Back the Don or before the Team, the member shall declare a conflict of interest before participating in any discussion, and shall not vote on any related motions. In accordance with the provisions of the City of Toronto Act 2006 and Simplified Rules of Procedure for Advisory Bodies, the Task Force and the Teams may close meetings to the general public and to conflicted members.

13. Code of Conduct:
The Task Force to Bring Back the Don shall abide by the spirit and intent of the Code of Conduct of the City of Toronto Council.

(Authority: Clause embodied in Report No. 12 of the Parks and Environment Committee, as adopted by the Council of the City of Toronto at its meeting held on January 29 and 30, 2008.)