A group of WTC members who follow the agendas, discussions and decisions of Vancouver City Council to make it more accessible to advocate for equity issues and organize actions around initiatives that most impact equity-deserving genders.
5 Reasons We Follow Council
Motions passed at Vancouver City Council significantly impact how we live, interact with the city, access services, and much more.
These motions, which significantly impact all equity-deserving genders, can vary from affordable housing options to passing bylaws that affect local businesses.
Even the language used in motions can impact their execution and set the tone for motions to come.
Many barriers make civic participation difficult, especially for equity-deserving groups who historically do not have their issues represented on council.
We aim to increase engagement in our municipal affairs and strengthen local democracy by breaking down barriers, tracking, analyzing, & speaking to motions that matter.
Understanding Local Council through an Equity Lens
What remains essential to the mandate and goals of Watch Council is the incorporation of an intersectional feminist lens in our analysis and public response to these motions.
Using this lens allows us to track how well the city’s motions respond to the varied needs of our diverse population.
We advocate with the understanding that our systems continue to enact oppression and exclude Indigenous, Black, Asian, and other racialized women or nonbinary folks, along with additional groups of individuals made marginalized by systemic oppression.
A single motion impacts different people in various ways. For example, a local business may experience a proposal for a nearby luxury condominium as good news; however, the local working-class tenants whose affordable housing will be removed to make way for the condo will not.
How Does Watch Council Work?
Vancouver City Council meets every second week, and any member of the public can access upcoming agenda items and motions on the city’s website before these meetings.
When agenda items are released the week before council, a Watch Council member will go through and highlight and recommend any notable motions to discuss with other Watch Council members.
If any motions significantly impact equity-deserving genders, Watch Council members will be notified and meet virtually via Zoom that same evening to decide how to respond.
After a discussion and final stance on the motions, we decide how we’d like to respond, including:
Writing a letter to Mayor and city council outlining our response
Speaking to council during the allocated time for public input
Releasing a press release or public statement with our position
Connecting with organizations & individuals to respond to motions together
We then work collectively in the following days to draft and finalize our output.