The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines is a municipal corporation created by provincial statute. The City of St. Catharines is a lower-tier government working in co-operation with three upper levels of government: the Region of Niagara, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada. Each of these levels of government has specific responsibilities, though some of those responsibilities are shared.
The Municipal Act and other legislation establish the extent of powers and duties of the Corporation of the City of St. Catharines.
The mission of the City of St. Catharines is to provide efficient and effective municipal service delivery in a way that promotes safety and security, environmental sustainability, local agriculture, cultural diversity, new business and employment opportunities for all of its citizens.
The City of St. Catharines is governed by City Council.
The Mayor is the head of council and is elected by the majority of citizens of St. Catharines. Councillors are elected by the majority of citizens in their ward. The city is divided into six wards with two councillors representing each ward. Elections are held every four years. Those in elected office represent the public, and establish policies and services that achieve the mission of the City of St. Catharines. The mayor and 12 councillors are members of both Council and the General Committee.
After discussing a matter, general committee either forwards the matter to Council for final approval or refers it back to City staff for further information. Staff at City Hall provide objective advice to council based on existing policies, by-laws, and federal and provincial legislation.
Matters raised by the public, the priorities of the mayor and/or council, staff or program and service requirements generate matters to be discussed by General Committee. All policies and matters that come forward and require an action to be taken must be discussed by the general committee before going to council for a decision.
Members of the public are welcome to address council as a delegation. At such a time, Council can direct staff to look further into matters raised by the public and report back to the general committee with the findings.
Several sub-committees of Council, which deal with specific issues, such as environmental or aesthetic concerns, accessibility issues and community and race relations, can also generate matters that require Council action.
The sub-committees provide a forum for residents to express their opinions about a particular topic.