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Governance Policies

The Oakville Public Library is a not-for-profit corporation and a registered charity providing library services to the Oakville community. The Library is financially supported by the Town of Oakville, provincial grants and dedicated sponsors and donors. In order to ensure the Library is being fiscally responsible and using these funds for the intended purpose of offering the best possible library services to Oakville residents, the Oakville Public Library shall not provide community assistance funding of any kind.

Effective Date:November 6, 2014
Motion #: 14.11.81
Next Review Date: 2018
Supersedes Policy Dated: New
Motion #:Page 1 of 1
Filed in: Board Manual, Added to Website


This policy defines the manner in which Oakville Public Library (OPL) Board members will fulfill their duties and carry on business with each other, with staff and with OPL’s partners.


This policy applies to all current OPL Board members.


The Board upholds the mission, vision and values as outlined in the strategic plan.
OPL Board Members shall first and foremost support the interests of OPL and shall comply with the following:

1. Acting with Integrity and Leadership

Board Members shall act ethically, lawfully and with honesty, integrity and in good faith regarding the best interests of OPL. This includes:

Treating others in a courteous, respectful, professional, and helpful manner, publicly or privately;

  • Taking responsibility for own actions; including admitting own mistakes;
  • Coming forward when identifying an issue that needs to be discussed;
  • Exercising care, diligence, and skill in reviewing Board materials;
  • Being factual and accurate, avoiding rumors or making premature conclusions;
  • Articulating opinions during meetings and actively participating in debate;
  • Supporting Board decisions after discussion has occurred and a Board decision has been made, even if it differs from own views.

    Board Members understand that Board meetings are public and that their behaviour and statements affect the image of the OPL, so they must act in a manner akin to community leadership.

    2. Promoting a Respectful Environment

    Board Members will treat OPL’s visitors, staff and fellow Board Members with respect. Board Members will not abuse, bully or intimidate others. Board Members will fulfill their responsibilities in ensuring that the OPL is free from discrimination and harassment. In addition, OPL Board Members are expected to act in accordance with the Town of Oakville's RZone Policy (, which has the goal of promoting a positive, safe, and supportive environment for all individuals and user groups. All of the workplace violence and anti-harassment policies of the OPL also apply to the Board members.

    3. Being Responsible with Power and Influence

    Board Members shall understand the staff’s role as public servants who provide professional and politically neutral advice to the Board. Staff should not be subject to undue influence from any individual Board Member.
    When making requests or giving direction to staff, Board Members should be aware of the authority they have and not exploit it for any reason beyond the Board Member’s role. Due to the position that a Board Member holds, staff may acquiesce to a Member's request even if the request is not part of staff’s duties or is inappropriate. Therefore, Members should avoid requesting staff to perform activities other than those required in the performance of their duties.

    4. Safeguarding Privacy and Confidentiality

    Board Members will not disclose or release by any means to any member of the public or media (including social media), any confidential information acquired by virtue of their role at the Board. Board Members will maintain this obligation even after leaving the Board.

    The following are examples of the types of information that a Board Member must keep confidential: litigation, contract negotiation, land allocation plans, personnel matters, sensitive information about an individual obtained in the course of business or provided in confidence.

    The Board Chair is the primary spokesperson of the Board. Any Board Member speaking about or posting content on behalf of the Board must present Board positions fairly, accurately and without bias and limit it to the extent it has already been explicitly stated in Board meetings (excluding confidential sections). Board Members expressing individual comments of personal opinions should clearly identify such remarks as personal and not those of the Board.

    Members are allowed to disclose confidential information only if required by law, or when previously and officially authorized to do so by the Board.

    5. Identifying and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest

    While performing their roles, Board Members shall make or influence decisions about the OPL’s facilities, equipment, supplies, services, staff or other resources solely in the best interests of the OPL. Such decisions should never benefit the Board Member’s private interests above those of the OPL, whether such private interests are present or future, financial or otherwise, perceived or real, or in the interests of their family, friends or organizations with which Board Members are associated.

    Board Members must disclose their involvements with organizations, vendors, or associations that might produce a conflict of interest, including cases where immediate family members become engaged in any private business (including employment) with the OPL.

    In order to determine possible conflict of interest, Board Members should ask themselves if they, a family member, friend or an organization to which they belong to is or could be receiving a benefit as a result of the Board Member’s role that might disrupt a level playing field where all citizens, groups and interests can no longer expect impartial treatment. This should be also be looked from a public perception perspective, i.e. even if the benefit is not real but could be perceived as such, a conflict of interest may still exist.

    Private interest does not include a matter that is of general application or one that affects a Board Member as one of a broad class of the public. For example, a Board Member is not in a conflict of interest if the Board lowers late fines for all OPL users even though Board Members may be OPL users themselves.

    6. Rejecting Gifts or Payments

    Board Members are not to accept or provide any gift or benefit where it may be, or perceived to be, in exchange for favour or influence. This includes accepting payments to make referrals to a person or corporation; or to represent the Board at an external event.


  • Small Christmas gifts (cards or edibles, such as chocolates or cookies)
  • Advertising material (calendars, scratch pads, disposable pens, t-shirts)
  • Any hospitality or gift that has a monetary value under $100
  • Attending a modest event hosted by an external organization to celebrate an achievement in connection with existing OPL’s business (as long as not in connection with future potential business)

    7. Not Participating in OPL’s Public Contests

    Board members and immediate family members may not participate in any OPL contest open to members of the public. If a Board Member or an immediate family member participates in a OPL activity as a visitor (i.e. attending an adult program with a door prize), they shall still not be eligible to participate in the contest component of the program, if there is one.

    Accountability: All Board Members are accountable for understanding and adhering to this Policy.
    Board Members shall report to the Board Chair if they breached this policy intentionally or accidentally, of if they have a conflict of interest. Staff and Board Members may also do so, about their fellow Board Members.

    The Board Chair will then be responsible for timely conducting an investigation (if necessary), and then recommend to the Board the appropriate course of action, which shall be discussed and voted by the Board minus the Board Member in breach or conflict of interest.

    If the Board Chair is in breach or conflict of interest, the Vice Chair will preside over this investigation/discussion/recommendation/vote.
    Policy Number:  GOV
    Policy Category: Board Manual
    Approved by: OPL Board
    Accountability: Chief Executive Officer
    Approval Date: January 19, 2023
    Effective date: January 20, 2023
    Next Review Date: 2028
    Supersedes: June 27, 2013



    The board will monitor its own effectiveness in fulfilling its major responsibilities and achieving strategic goals. The evaluation process identifies key areas for board improvement and any necessary follow-up action. This policy ensures that the board assesses its effectiveness. The board will evaluate its effectiveness on an annual basis, as an agenda item for the final annual (November) board meeting.


    This policy applies to all current OPL Board members.


    1. The chair is responsible for managing the process of the evaluation.

    2. The evaluation will be done by discussing and verbally evaluating performance, referring to the board’s annual work in the areas of:
      1. policy development
      2. planning
      3. advocacy
      4. relationship with the Chief Executive Officer
      5. finance
      6. board conduct and practice

    Any identified issues by the board would be reviewed by the board chair and options to address would be brought to the next board meeting.
    Feedback would be sought in advance from appropriate Library and Town staff. The Commissioner of Community Services would gather feedback and deliver it to the board in advance of the evaluation process.
    The board will assess its effectiveness as an Agenda item for the annual November board meeting.   During the evaluation discussion If a majority of the board feel an area of its work needs substantial improvement, this will be further discussed at a board meeting early in the following calendar year, and addressed through action plans with timelines if necessary.  

    Policy Number: GOV-002
    Policy Category: Board Manual
    Approved by: OPL Board
    Accountability: Chief Executive Officer
    Approval Date: January 19, 2023
    Effective date: January 20, 2023
    Next Review Date: 2028
    Supersedes: June 27, 2013


    The orientation of new board members is necessary for there to be a common and shared understanding of the authority and role of the library board. This policy sets out the requirements for board orientation.


    This policy applies to all current OPL Board members.

    Policy Statement:

    1. Board members shall be given a thorough orientation upon their appointment to the board at the start of a new term.

    2. Mid-term appointments will be given an orientation by both the Chair and CEO. In addition, the Vice-Chair will act as a mentor (see. By-law 4.3)

    3. ​The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the board chair shall be responsible for developing an agenda to provide an orientation which shall include, but not be limited to:
      1. information on the library's vision, mission and values
      2. an overview of the Public Libraries Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P44 and other relevant legislation
      3. an overview of the board bylaws, governance policies and financial authorities
      4. an overview of the roles of the Board's committees
      5. training in relation to reading and comprehending financial reporting documents
      6. a discussion on the role, structure, code of conduct, function of the board and the legal duties and liabilities of board members
      7. a group tour of library facilities, as practical, and an introduction to staff members and services
      8. presentations by senior staff in relation to their areas of responsibility
    The CEO will ensure that each board member receives:
    1. the current Oakville Public Library Board Orientation Manual
    2. the library's current Strategic Plan
    3. a copy and overview of the annual operating plan and the current budget

    Board members should make every effort to review the orientation package in detail prior to their first board meeting.

    Policy Number: GOV-003
    Policy Category: Board Manual
    Approved by: OPL Board
    Accountability: Chief Executive Officer
    Approval Date: January 19, 2023
    Effective date: January 20, 2023
    Next Review Date:  2028
    Supersedes: June 27, 2013


    In order to be effective, board members must have sufficient knowledge of board governance and issues that are central to the role of the library in the community. Ongoing training ensures that board members focus on good governance, strategic directions and policy implications rather than on operational details. This policy ensures that board members have access to, and avail themselves of, training opportunities.


    This policy applies to all current OPL Board members.


    1. To ensure ongoing education, the board will:
      1. schedule time for board training

      2. maintain a membership in the Ontario Library Association and the Ontario Library Boards' Association

      3. assign a representative who will attend the regional Trustee Council meetings hosted by the OLS and report back to the board

      4. fund at least two board members to attend a relevant conference (e.g. OLA Superconference) annually and report back to the board

      5. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will provide information to the Board about training and networking opportunities offered by various organizations in Ontario.

    2. The cost of any training must be approved by the board or CEO before it is undertaken.

    3. Board members will report on their participation in training or networking events.

    4. Board members are encouraged to participate in training opportunities that include, but are not limited to:
  • effective governance
  • planning
  • advocacy
  • funding development
  • decision making
  • risk management;
  • legal roles and responsibilities of officers and directors
  • insurance

    The auditor will provide a presentation on fiduciary responsibilities to the Board at least once a year.

    Policy Number:          GOV- 004
    Policy Category:        Board Manual
    Approved by:              OPL Board
    Accountability:            Chief Executive Officer
    Approval Date:           January 19, 2023
    Effective date:            January 20, 2023
    Next Review Date:     2028
    Supersedes:               June 27, 2013



    This policy describes the formal process for individuals and groups seeking to provide feedback to the Oakville Public Library Board regarding matters related to library services, policies, programs, or any other relevant concerns. The purpose of this policy is to ensure an organized and respectful process for delegations to present viewpoints and engage positively with the Board of Directors.


    This policy applies to all individuals and groups who wish to delegate at OPL Board meetings.

    Policy Statement:

    The OPL Board recognizes the importance of having members of the public present their viewpoints on library matters and encourages public participation in its decision-making processes. The Board provides opportunities for members of the public to delegate at regular meetings as per the guidelines below:
    Request for Delegation: Individuals or groups seeking to address the OPL Board must pre-register with the Clerk, or phone 905-815-6015, no later than noon on the day of a meeting commencing after 6 p.m. and by noon on the last business day before a meeting held prior to 6 p.m.  All requests to delegate shall be permitted for business matters on the agenda only.  Any information provided by the public regarding matters outside of Board business will be forwarded to Members separately. The Clerk will provide each delegate with confirmation of their registration.
    Delegations must provide:

  • name
  • contact information.
  • association with any organization, if applicable
  • the agenda item to be addressed.

     All PowerPoint presentations must be emailed to the Clerk by noon on the day of the meeting or by noon on the last business day before a meeting held prior to 6 p.m.

    Guidelines for Delegates

  • Delegations may only speak to matters listed on the agenda for that particular meeting. OPL Board agendas are posted on the Friday before a regular meeting.
  • Delegations appearing before the OPL Board on the same subject matter, shall be limited to providing only new information in their second and any subsequent appearances.
  • Any person wishing to present materials either in hard copy or electronically shall submit a copy of the material to the Clerk no later than noon on the day of the meeting, or alternatively provide 20 hard copies to the Clerk at the meeting for distribution. No person other than the Clerk or designate shall be permitted to distribute materials at a meeting.
  • Unless otherwise authorized by resolution, or by a majority vote of the OPL Board, a delegation shall be permitted to speak for a maximum of 10 minutes per agenda item, excluding replies to questions from the OPL Board members.
  • Questions of staff by any delegate shall be received by the Chair and addressed when practical prior to the consideration of the subject item and after the conclusion of all delegations.
  • Groups are encouraged to select a spokesperson to present their views, however, if a delegation involves two or more people, the total presentation time is still limited to 10 minutes.

    Public delegations may be permitted by electronic means subject to the following:
    a)      Electronic means of participating in a meeting are available.
    b)      Electronic participation must be clear and uninterrupted and allow for two way communication.  Should the electronic participation result in any unreasonable delay or interference with the meeting, the connection will be discontinued.
    c)      Requests to participate electronically in a OPL Board meeting must be received by the Town Clerk no later than noon on the day of a meeting commencing after six p.m. and by noon on the last business day before a meeting held prior to six p.m.
    Following the delegation presentation, the Board may:

  • decide to discuss the matter further and arrive at a resolution
  • defer the matter for discussion at another meeting
  • receive the presentation for information only
    • The Board reserves the right to limit the number of delegations per meeting.
      Related Documents:
      OPL Board Procedural By-Laws

      Policy Number: GOV- 005
      Policy Category: 
      Approved by: OPL Board
      Accountability: CEO or Designate
      Approval Date: October 19, 2023
      Effective date: October 20, 2023
      Next Review Period: 2028
      Supersedes: policy dated June 27, 2013


      This policy sets out the duties and responsibilities of the Oakville Public Library (OPL)’s Board Members in the course of performing their function.


      This policy applies to all current OPL Board members.


      OPL board members will comply with duties and responsibilities described in the Ontario Public Libraries Act (

      In addition, board members are expected to become productive participants in exercising the duties of the Board. This includes:

      At onboarding:

    • Attend new Board Member training;
    • Familiarise oneself with all OPL’s Policies, and applicable bylaws;
    • Introduce oneself to the CEO and the Board Secretary;
      • In advance of every Board Meeting:

      • Avoid personal scheduling conflicts with Board Meetings, which are pre-scheduled well in advance to a set date/time of every month;
      • Advise the Board Secretary in case of inability to attend any particular meeting(s);
      • Carefully review all material submitted by staff;
      • Prepare questions and comments to be brought forward;
        • During Board Meetings:

        • Actively participate in discussions by bringing up questions, comments and opinions about topics in the agenda when discussions take place;
        • Contribute with relevant life and professional experience;
        • Show respect for the opinions of others;
        • Feel comfortable to voice own opinions, even if they differ than that of others (including the Board Chair’s), always doing so politely and respectfully;
        • Recognize and respect the distinction in the roles of the board and the staff;
        • Refrain from individually directing the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or the staff without Board approval.
          • After Board Meetings:

          • When minutes become available, confirming that they accurately describe the main aspects of discussions that took place and decisions made, and if not, bring any clarification questions for the following meeting.
            • Whenever possible:

            • Agree to participate in Board activities beyond monthly meetings (e.g. subcommittees, Board development activities, public appearances);
            • Be informed about OPL’s activities and the community and issues that affect it;
            • Visit one or more of the OPL’s branches
              • At All Times:

              • Uphold the OPL’s mission, vision and values;
              • Acknowledge, understand and abide by all Board Policies;
              • Act as an ambassador of OPL by promoting its business in own social circles, sharing social media information posted by OPL staff and demonstrating pride to be a Board Member;
              • If ever asked to speak publicly on behalf of the Board, present Board positions accurately and using “one voice” (i.e. support Board decisions even if they differ from own position).
              • Never disclose confidential information or present personal opinions as if they were those of the Board;
              • Recognize that outside of a Board meeting, Board Members have no authority to make decisions or take action pertaining to the OPL.
              • Properly use and protect electronic devices and data shared by the OPL.
                  Policy Number: GOV-006
                  Policy Category: Board Manual
                  Approved by: OPL Board
                  Accountability: Chief Executive Officer
                  Approval Date: January 19, 2023
                  Effective date: January 20, 2023
                  Next Review Date: 2028
                  Supersedes: June 27, 2013


                  The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework for fostering diversity and social inclusion at Oakville Public Library (OPL), in order to create an environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging and is able to participate freely with respect, dignity, and freedom from discrimination. 

                  Policy Number:           GOV-012
                  Policy Category:         Governance
                  Approved by:     OPL Board
                  Accountability:     CEO or Designate
                  Approval Date:            January 28, 2021     
                  Effective date:             January 29, 2021   
                  Next Review Date:       January 2024

                  View the complete Inclusion Policy here (PDF)

                  Intellectual Freedom Policy

                  Purpose Statement

                  Oakville Public Library (OPL) supports intellectual curiosity and enquiry, and supports intellectual freedom as the prerequisite for an informed, democratic society. The Oakville Public Library defends “the right of library users to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression as the basis of a democratic society”, as embodied in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

                  The OPL endorses the Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries and the Ontario Library Association’s Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual. These statements do not apply to the expression or dissemination of views that promote and/or incite hatred as defined by the ‎Criminal Code of Canada.  Such communications are prohibited on library premises and may result in a person’s immediate expulsion from the premises and referral of the matter to the Halton Regional Police Services.


                  This policy applies to the entire organization and those individuals or groups representing OPL. 

                  Policy Statement

                  OPL endorses the Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries (CFLA, June 27, 1974, amended November 17, 1983, November 18, 1985, September 27, 2015, Reviewed 2018):

                  The Canadian Federation of Library Associations recognizes and values the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as the guarantor of the fundamental freedoms in Canada of conscience and religion; of thought, belief, opinion, and expression; of peaceful assembly; and of association.

                  The Canadian Federation of Library Associations supports and promotes the universal principles of intellectual freedom as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which include the interlocking freedoms to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

                  In accordance with these principles, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations affirms that all persons in Canada have a fundamental right, subject only to the Constitution and the law, to have access to the full range of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, and to express their thoughts publicly. Only the courts may abridge free expression rights in Canada.

                  The Canadian Federation of Library Associations affirms further that libraries have a core responsibility to support, defend and promote the universal principles of intellectual freedom and privacy.

                  The Canadian Federation of Library Associations holds that libraries are a key institution in Canada for rendering expressive content accessible and affordable to all. Libraries are essential gateways for all persons living in Canada to advance themselves through literacy, lifelong learning, social engagement, and cultural enrichment.

                  Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and facilitate access to constitutionally protected expressions of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, including those which some individuals and groups consider unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, in accordance with their mandates and professional values and standards, libraries provide, defend and promote equitable access to the widest possible variety of expressive content and resist calls for censorship and the adoption of systems that deny or restrict access to resources.

                  Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and foster free expression and the right to safe and welcoming places and conditions. To this end, libraries make available their public spaces and services to individuals and groups without discrimination.

                  Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and defend privacy in the individual’s pursuit of expressive content. To this end, libraries protect the identities and activities of library users except when required by the courts to cede them.

                  Furthermore, in accordance with established library policies, procedures and due process, libraries resist efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups.
                  Library employees, volunteers and employers as well as library governing entities have a core responsibility to uphold the principles of intellectual freedom in the performance of their respective library roles.

                  OPL endorses the Ontario Library Association’s Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual (OLA, December 2003, reaffirmed December 2005):

                  In affirming its commitment to the fundamental rights of intellectual freedom, the freedom to read and freedom of the press, as embodied in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Library Association declares its acceptance of the following propositions:

                  That the provision of library service to the public is based upon the right of the citizen, under the protection of the law, to judge individually on questions of politics, religion and morality.

                  That intellectual freedom requires freedom to examine other ideas and other interpretations of life than those currently approved by the local community or by society in general, and including those ideas and interpretations which may be unconventional or unpopular.

                  That freedom of expression includes freedom for a creator to depict what is ugly, shocking and unedifying in life.
                  That free traffic in ideas and opinions is essential to the health and growth of a free society and that the freedom to read, listen and view is fundamental to such free traffic.

                  That it is the responsibility of libraries to maintain the right of intellectual freedom and to implement it consistently in the selection of books, periodicals, films, recordings, other materials, and in the provision of access to electronic sources of information, including access to the internet.

                  That it is therefore part of the library's service to its public to resist any attempt by any individual or group within the community it serves to abrogate or curtail access to information, the freedom to read, view and listen by demanding the removal of, or restrictions to library information sources in any format.

                  That it is equally part of the library's responsibility to its public to ensure that its selection of material is not unduly influenced by the personal opinions of the selectors, but determined by the application of generally accepted standards of accuracy, style and presentation.

                  Policy Number:          GOV-011
                  Policy Category:        Governance
                  Approved by:              OPL Board 
                  Accountability:    CEO
                  Approval Date:           August 27, 2020
                  Effective date:            August 28, 2020
                  Next Review Date:      August 2023
                  Supersedes:    Intellectual Freedom Policy effective June 28, 2012


                  The Oakville Public Library (OPL) is committed to embedding and integrating an explicit, proactive, sustainable and systematic approach to minimizing and managing risks that impact the town's ability to achieve its objectives. This policy outlines OPL's approach to risk management.


                  This Policy applies to all library employees, board members and volunteers as deemed appropriate.  Risk management will incorporate plans for Business Continuity Management, Insurance Risk Management, Emergency Management and other plans established to mitigate risk.

                  Policy Statement:

                  The Oakville Public Library is committed to the effective management of risk at every level within the organization through the adoption of the principles below: 
                • Integration: Risk Management shall be integrated into all aspects for OPL’s operations and decision-making processes.
                • Ownership: Each department and team shall be responsible for identifying, assessing and managing risks within their area of operation.
                • Proactive approach: OPL will take a proactive approach to risk management, identifying and addressing potential risks before they escalate.
                • Compliance: OPL will comply with all applicable laws and regulation related to risk management.
                  • Responsibilities:

                    Board of Directors:
                  • Approve and Review: the OPL Board is responsible for approving the integrated risk management policy and regularly reviewing OPL’s risk management processes.
                  • Oversight: The OPL board will oversee the implementation of risk management processes and ensure they align with the Town of Oakville risk management policy as well as OPL’s strategic objectives.
                    • Chief Executive Officer:
                    • Leadership: The CEO is responsible for providing leadership in implementing the risk management processes and ensuring alignment with organizational goals.
                    • Reporting: Regularly report to the OPL Board the status of key risks, mitigation strategies and the overall effectiveness of the risk management program.
                      • Department/Branch Managers
                      • Identification: Identify and assess risks within their departments/branches, considering both internal and external factors.
                      • Mitigation: Develop and implement mitigation plans for identified risks and monitor their effectiveness.
                      • Reporting: Report significant risks to the CEO (or designate) , detailing the impact and mitigation strategies.
                        • Employees/Volunteers
                        • Reporting: All employees and volunteers are encouraged to report risks or concerns they identify to their immediate supervisor.
                        • Awareness: Participate in training and awareness programs to understand the organizational risk management policies and programs.
                          • Definitions:

                            Integrated Risk Management: is the process of identifying, assessing and developing management strategies to deal with events and circumstances that could impact the town's achievement of its objectives.
                            Impact: the outcome of an event expressed in qualitative or quantitative terms (for example operational, financial, legal, and reputational) being a loss, injury, disadvantage or gain.
                            Risk: is an event or circumstance having a cause or a consequence that could be either positive or negative. Risk is measured in terms of probability and impact. In the context of Integrated Risk Management for the town, Risk encompasses the following three dimensions:
                          • Hazard - preventing an exposure from turning into a loss,
                          • Uncertainty - coping with volatility and change, and
                          • Opportunity - harnessing opportunities to the Town's advantage.

                              Policy Number:           GOV-
                              Policy Category:         Governance
                              Approved by:              OPL Board
                              Accountability:            CEO or Designate
                              Approval Date:            January 19, 2023
                              Effective date:             January 20, 2023
                              Next Review Period:    2028
                              Supersedes:                June 27, 2013


                              The purpose of this policy is to provide a formal mechanism to create, revise, rescind, approve, and publish policies for the Oakville Public Library, ensuring accountability, transparency, and equity in all policy decisions.   


                              Oakville Public Library upholds the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, fulfills its obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code, and legislative responsibilities under the Public Libraries Act. In accordance with the Public Libraries Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P44, s. 3(3), the Oakville Public Library is under the management and control of the Library Board. The board has the sole authority and responsibility for establishing policy, for which the CEO is responsible for administering.  
                              Policies set the framework for the governance and operations of the library and provide direction to board, staff and volunteers. Policies are a tool for achieving the library's vision and advancing its strategic priorities. They help ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, promote operational efficiencies, and reduce institutional risks. Their broad application provides a basis for consistent decision-making, organizational transformation, service excellence, capacity building, and resource allocation.
                              Board members, staff and volunteers are responsible for knowing, understanding, and complying with the policies of the Oakville Public Library.

                              Policy Statement

                              This policy outlines the requirements for policy development at the Oakville Public Library.
                              Section 1: Types of Policies
                              The board develops and maintains policies in five areas:

                              1. Foundation Policies which record the board's decisions on vision, mission and values;

                              2. Board Bylaws which establish the organizational structure of the board and how it does business;

                              3. Governance Policies which define the responsibilities and regulate the work of the board;

                              4. Human Resources Policies which guide relations with the staff;

                              5. Operational Policies which regulate the services and day-to-day operations of the library.

                              Section 2: Responsibilities
                              The board will:

                              1. Establish an annual schedule to review existing policies and will integrate this schedule into the board agendas;

                              2. Ensure that policies comply with the Public Libraries Act, and any other applicable provincial and federal legislation.

                              Section 3: Policy Approval
                              Policy approval is a twostep process:

                              1. Draft policies are provided to the board seven days prior to the next scheduled board meeting. The board then provides comments and feedback on the draft policy and requested changes are made by staff. 

                              2. The revised policy is presented to the board at a subsequent board meeting. Pending no further changes, the board approves draft policies.

                              The public is notified of new policies or policy revisions through the posting of the board agenda packages on the website.
                              Section 4: Policy Distribution
                              All policies should be documented in a standard format; numbered according to policy type and include the date of approval and the period of the next review.
                              The board will ensure that:

                              1. All board members, staff and volunteers have access to the policies;

                              2. Public policies are made available via the library's website;

                              3. All policies are made available to staff via the intranet.

                              Section 5: Considerations
                              The proposed development of a new policy, or the proposed revision or rescission of an existing policy can come from several sources:

                              1. The Chief Executive Officer (or Designate)

                              2. A member of the Library Board

                              3. The Town of Oakville Council

                              4. Provincial Government

                              All policy development, revisions, and rescissions are made with consideration to feedback received from library staff, members of the public, community partners, and other sources as appropriate.


                              With this policy, OPL makes the following commitments:

                              • To apply an equity, inclusion, and accessibility lens as one of the overarching principles of policy development, to prevent or mitigate existing barriers, or the creation of barriers, for equity-deserving groups and persons with disabilities.

                              • To protect the public’s right to access a broad range of human knowledge, experience, information, and ideas in a welcoming and supportive environment, and to respond to the unique and changing needs of the diverse residents and communities of Oakville.

                              • To embody the universal principles of public libraries outlined in the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA), and associated United Nations treaties and guidelines as appropriate.

                              • To outline how and why the library makes policy decisions, advancing the role of the public library in contributing to a free and just democratic society.

                              References and Related Documents:

                              Policy Number: GOV-010
                              Policy Category: Governance
                              Approved by: OPL Board         
                              Accountability: CEO or Designate          
                              Approval Date: June 20, 2024
                              Effective Date: June 21, 2024
                              Supersedes: Policy Development Policy effective February 21, 2020


                              The purpose of the Oakville Public Library Board is to manage and control the affairs of the public library in service to the community in accordance with the Public Libraries Act, RSO 1990, C 44. This policy sets out the work of the board and the ways in which the board achieves its purpose.


                              This policy applies to all current OPL Board members.


                              1. The Board oversees the development of an inclusive, comprehensive and efficient public library service by:

                                1. expressing the library's philosophy and values
                                2. articulating the library's mission, vision, values and priorities
                                3. evaluating outcomes
                                4. approving policies on governance and service
                                5. developing, approving and monitoring all short and long range plans of the library and the strategies to implement them
                                6. monitoring the financial affairs of the library and ensuring that the organization operates on an ethical and sound financial basis
                                7. appointing the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who will have "general supervision over and direction of the operations of the public library and its staff" (s.15(2), Public Libraries Act) and evaluating her/his performance
                                8. planning for further library development of library services
                                9. securing the resources to achieve the intended results and setting budget priorities
                                10. advocating for library service
                              2. The Board governs effectively by:

                                1. representing the interests of the community,
                                2. engaging with the community as needed
                                3. respecting diversity of viewpoints and promoting inclusive library services
                                4. acting as a bridge between the library and the council
                                5. working collaboratively with the CEO and the council
                                6. setting an annual board agenda that reflects current goals and strategic issues
                                7. participating in Board development and training
                                8. working proactively and making decisions that focus on the library's future and place in the community
                                9. evaluating the board's performance
                                10. managing risk


                              Policy Number: GOV- 008
                              Policy Category: Board Manual
                              Approved by: OPL Board
                              Accountability: Chief Executive Officer
                              Approval Date: January 19, 2023
                              Effective date: January 20, 2023
                              Next Review Date: 2028
                              Supersedes: June 27, 2013