City Council Highlights
Below are some of the highlights from the May 2021 Council and Committee meetings. The full reports can be found at saskatoon.ca/meeting.
Report on addressing systemic racism at the City of Saskatoon
Our city has been changing drastically over the past 15 years. People have moved to Saskatoon from all over Saskatchewan and all over the world, seeking opportunity, security and a chance for a good life.
As one of the largest employers in the city and as an organization working towards Reconciliation, equity, diversity and inclusion, it is important we show leadership in identifying and eradicating the systemic barriers people face in employment, engagement and participation with the City as an organization. Unfortunately, a recent report on hiring and diversity identified that as an organization, we’ve fallen behind in hiring equitable groups.
Last September, City Council unanimously passed a resolution directing City staff to identify the systemic barriers people face to employment, engagement, and participation on Civic boards and committees. During the May City Council meeting, we received the first report laying out a framework to tackle this work.
In receiving the report and feedback from leaders in the community, City Council passed additional resolutions adding urgency to this work. We directed Administration to work with committees, external organizations, and importantly, those with lived experience, to ensure we are doing what we can to eliminate discriminatory and systemic barriers that prevent our organization from reflecting what our community strives to be. We can reflect this in our hiring practices, filling committees and in how we engage with residents. We know we must make tangible progress in our hiring and leadership to ensure we are meeting our goals.
Home Energy Loan Program
City Council has passed a Bylaw to create the Home Energy Loan Program. This program will allow homeowners to take out a loan using their property taxes, which can be deferred over a number of years. These loans will be available for people who first have had an energy audit performed which identify renovations that would allow for the biggest improvements towards making their home more energy efficient. Through this program, we can help reduce community emissions and do our part in creating a more sustainable future in Saskatoon. It will also save money every month on utilities. Furthermore, there is an option making the program accessible to low-income households and it can be used with the federal Greener Homes Grant to also save money on renovations.
Emergency Response Plan for Extreme Snow Events
In November, Saskatoon had a historic snowfall that required a response above and beyond what is typically done for snow removal and clearing. Our administration adapted and pulled off a response plan on the fly to get Saskatoon moving again as safely and as efficiently as possible. We realize that responding to extreme weather events shouldn’t be pulled together when needed. Instead, we are using lessons learned from the most recent response in November to ensure Saskatoon has a plan to follow when events like this occur in the future. It will allow the City of Saskatoon to better inform and communicate with residents, and to have a formal response plan to get the city moving again in a more efficient and safe manner.
Council has decided on a policy for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (utility smart meters). This new policy direction will allow an opt-out option with a monthly fee for those who don’t want a smart meter at their house where one is not already installed.
Adjustments to a number of infrastructure projects were made following the contributions of Investing in Canada Infrastructure Projects. These infrastructure projects are varied and will be crucial to our city for further development.