The committee examining the composition of Thunder Bay City Council had their inaugural meeting last week, with a focus on public engagement and research of other communities.

The committee has six members, with two former city councillors appointed by committee members as chair and vice-chair. The members include Chair Rebecca Johnson, Vice-Chair Cody Fraser, Riley Burton, Wayne Bahlieda, Heather McLeod and Carlos Santander-Maturana.

The initial tasks for the Committee include the creation of a survey, public engagement opportunities, and reporting to City Council. This phase of work is expected to be done by the spring of 2024.

“There is a lot of public interest in the work of this Committee, and the composition of council,” said Chair Rebecca Johnson. “We want to speak with the community to hear their ideas on how they connect with their City Council and potential changes they may be interested in seeing in the size or makeup of council.”

The Committee will also look at the composition of the ward system, and potential changes to ward boundaries.

Thunder Bay City Council currently has 12 councillors and a mayor. The councillors represent seven wards in the city and the remainder sit as at-large councillors.

Applicants meeting the criteria for the committee were recommended by the City Clerk and approved by City Council including appointees from the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Thunder Bay and District Labour Council.

A final report from the Committee on the composition of council is slated for completion in advance of the 2026 Municipal Election.