The public hearing process is designed to provide the public with an opportunity to convey their views on development applications or other matters under a City by-law. Public hearings are open to all members of the public.
Members of the hearing body constitute an impartial body that hears all sides on the merits of a development application in a public forum before making a recommendation or decision (as the case may be). Once public representations have been closed, members of the hearing body and members of the approving authority must not receive or consider any new information outside of the public hearing process. This is to ensure that all interested partied have an equal opportunity to hear and respond to representations.
All representations, verbal or written become part of the public record. Submissions to a hearing body must be received prior to, or during a hearing, and cannot be made following the conclusion of public representations.
Should the result of a public hearing be a recommendation to City Council, no further representations are permitted at Council or any other Committee as the matter proceeds to Council.
Participate in the public hearing process
All persons who would like to submit their comments to a hearing body or participate in a public hearing are asked to complete the public representation form prior to the hearing. Submitting this form ensures that all registered participants will receive notice of the hearing body's decision/recommendation on the matter and information on how to appeal (if applicable).
To submit your comments in writing, or register to speak at a public hearing, you must fill out the public representation form. All registrations should be received by the City Clerk’s Department by 12:00 noon the business day prior to the hearing.
All submissions become part of the public record and will be exhibited on the public hearing file. Any personal information included in your submission will become part of the public record.
Variance and conditional use appeals
Some decisions made by the original hearing body may be appealed, specifically some variance and conditional use applications. When these decisions are appealed, a new public hearing before the Appeal Committee of Council will be scheduled. When a new appeal hearing is scheduled, the property will be posted with the date and time of the new hearing.
The Appeal Committee has the option to confirm, vary or cancel the order or decision of the initial hearing body.
Decisions made by the Appeal Committee are final decisions and are not subject to further appeal.
Referrals to the Municipal Board
Upon proclamation of The City of Winnipeg Charter Amendment Act, the process for approval of certain zoning and secondary plan by-laws and amendments to those by-laws has changed. If one of these types of applications receives "sufficient objections" at the original hearing, additional opportunities for objection exist as the matter proceeds to Council.
Sufficient objections are defined as:
- 25 voters, or
- 50% of the total number of registered owners of land located within 100 metres of the real property affected by the by-law.
The objections must be received by the City Clerk's Department prior to the close of public representations at the original hearing. All objections should be submitted using the public representation form and received by the City Clerk's Department by 12:00 noon the business day prior to the hearing.
If sufficient objections have been received, Council can only give first reading to the proposed by-law and the City will provide notice to each person who made submissions at the original hearing that they are entitled to file an additional objection to first reading of the by-law. If, within 14 days of notice being issued, sufficient objections are once again received, the City must refer the matter to the Municipal Board for a hearing.
Please consult the Municipal Board Public Hearing Notices webpage for additional information on matters that have been scheduled for a public hearing before the Board.
Objections, petitions and/or form letters submitted to a hearing body must set out a clear description of the matter to which the objection relates. They must also include all of the following information for each person in order to be deemed valid:
- the person's name
- the person's address, including postal code
- the person's signature
- the date when the person signed it
- confirmation that the signatory is an eligible voter in the City of Winnipeg
Submissions must be filed with the City Clerk prior to the hearing. Once filed, no signatures may be added or removed. All fields identified on the template must be filled in legibly. If any field is missing information, or is illegible, the entry will be deemed invalid. If you require any additional information regarding petitions, please contact the City Clerk's Department.
Frequently asked questions
A public hearing is a process in which interested parties and any other persons who may be affected by the result of a development application have the opportunity to make submissions, ask questions or register objections to a development application or other matter under a city by-law.
A public hearing body is comprised of elected officials or citizen members appointed by City Council.
The area planner will prepare a report containing an overview of the application and a recommendation that will be considered by the hearing body.
The administrative report will be available on the City Clerk’s Department Decision Making Information System (DMIS) four business days in advance of the hearing under the Committee's agenda documents.
All persons who would like to submit their comments to a hearing body or participate in a public hearing must complete the online representation form prior to the hearing. By completing this form you are also ensuring that you will receive notice of the hearing body's decision/recommendation on the matter and information on how to appeal (if applicable).
Generally, and unless otherwise directed by the hearing body, the applicant (or designate) is heard first, followed by those in support of the application. Next, those registered in opposition are heard, followed by those registered for information. Lastly, the applicant will have the opportunity to speak in rebuttal to any comments made, but no new information is permitted.
The hearing body may establish reasonable time limits for representations at a public hearing, and may also decline to hear presentations, questions or objections where they are satisfied that the matter has been adequately addressed.
Depending on the type of application, a hearing body may or may not have the final decision making authority.
Public representations include information, materials or arguments presented orally or submitted in writing to a hearing body.
If you are unable to attend a public hearing, or do not wish to speak to the hearing body, you can participate in the process by submitting your comments to the hearing body in writing by filling out the public representation form. Submissions should be received by the City Clerk’s Department by 12:00 noon the business day prior to the hearing. Submissions cannot be accepted following the conclusion of public representations.
In some cases, a public hearing may be adjourned, which means that the hearing will reconvene at a later date. When it adjourns the hearing, the hearing body will generally announce the date, time and place of reconvening. If not, the City will give notice of this information as though the reconvened hearing were a new hearing.
After a hearing body has heard relevant public representations from interested parties and affected persons, it will proceed to close public representations. Once it has done so, no additional representations may be made by the parties to the hearing or members of the public.
Should the result of a public hearing be a recommendation to City Council, no further representation is permitted at Council or any other Committee as the matter proceeds to Council.