Volunteering on municipal boards and committees


During a recruitment period, you can apply to serve on a Committee of Council, or as the municipal appointee to an external board, committee, or commission.

The Municipal Clerk's Office is not currently recruiting volunteers to serve on municipal boards, committees, and commissions. During an active recruitment period, opportunities will be posted on this page. 

The municipality values community participation and service as fundamental to the success of the community.  We strive to have appointments made by Council that reflect the diversity of the communities that it serves, and we seek to appoint members of the community who bring skills, expertise, and perspectives that contribute to good governance.

For information on eligibility, qualifications, and the selection process, read the frequently asked questions section below. For more detail, you can also review the Public Appointments Policy.   

For concerns about computer or internet access, or to request other accommodations during the application process, contact the Municipal Clerks Office. 

Frequently asked questions

What are Committees of Council?

“Committee of Council” means a committee established by Council in accordance with the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter. It includes standing, special and advisory committees, citizen advisory committees, and planning advisory committees. 

Committees of Council can consist of councillors, residents, and industry representatives. These groups provide recommendations to Regional Council, community councils or standing committees, and serve as an important part of the decision-making process. Each has a specific area of focus and terms of reference that guide the work it does.  

Learn more about the Committee of Council you are interested in serving on by visiting the committee web page. A complete list of committees and a link to each web page can be found here

What is an external body? 

External body means any officially incorporated organization whose incorporation documents require the Municipality to appoint or nominate a member of its Board of Directors.  Members appointed to an external body play an important role in overseeing the management of the organization and ensuring its long-term success.  

External boards, commissions and committees are not formed by Halifax Regional Council, yet Council members and/or residents may be nominated and/or appointed to serve as the municipal representative or appointee. 

Depending on the terms of reference or legislation that guides each external board, commission or committee, there might be an honorarium paid to the appointee.  

A list of external bodies the municipality appoints members to can be found here

How can I learn more about Committees of Council?

Information about each Committee of Council is available on our website, including terms of reference, meeting schedules, minutes, agendas, and reports. Reviewing these documents will give you details on the role and the typical work performed by the Committee. 

How can I learn more about municipal appointment opportunities to external boards, committees, and commissions?

Appointment opportunities to external boards, committees and commissions are guided by the terms of reference or legislation that applies to each external board, commission, or committee. For more information, visit the web page for the external boards, committees, and commissions that you are interested in applying for.  A list of committees and a link to each web page can be found here

Are these paid positions? 

Positions on Committees of Council are unpaid, volunteer opportunities.  

Members of the License Appeal Committee receive honorariums:
(a) an Appeal Committee Member shall receive an honorarium of $250.00 per appeal hearing; and
(b) the Chair of the Committee shall receive an honorarium of $300.00 per appeal hearing.

Sometimes, positions on external boards or commissions pay an honorarium to members.  The details of any such honorarium would be outlined in the terms of reference for the external board or commission. 

 Who can apply? 

To apply for a position on a Committee of Council, you must be:
- resident of the Halifax Regional Municipality for a minimum of six months; and
- a minimum of 19 years of age.

Council may choose a lower minimum age when it seeks to engage youth aged 13 to 18 years old; when this happens, it will be noted in the posting for the opportunity. Any youth appointments must be approved by the youth’s parent or guardian. 

Applicants for positions on external boards, committees and commissions shall meet the criteria above, and any additional criteria for eligibility that may be required by the body to which the appointment is made.

Applications from the following individuals will not be considered:
•    Employees of the Halifax Regional Municipality are not eligible to serve on municipal boards, committees, or commissions unless appointed on an ex-officio basis (by virtue of their position). “Employee” includes any individual who is a permanent, casual, or contract employee, on a full or part-time basis, with the Municipality, the Halifax Regional Library Board, or the Halifax Regional Water Commission.

•    The following relatives of a member of Council are not eligible:
(a) the spouse of a member of Council;
(b) any child, father, mother, or sibling of a member of Council or a member of Council’s spouse;
(c) the spouse of the persons referred to in clause (b); and
(d) any other person who normally resides in the same home as the member of Council.

How do I apply?

You can apply by submitting your application to the Municipal Clerk’s Office during an active recruitment period. The application form will be linked on this webpage, and also in the posting for the opportunity. 

What should I include in my application?

The requirements for each opportunity will be outlined in the recruitment posting. The application form will include spaces to provide all required information; the form must be fully completed. 

Cover letters and resumes will only be accepted and considered if specifically noted in the posting and application form.

Applications should include any information about you that is relevant to the board or committee you’re applying for. This could include why you are interested in the board or committee, relevant expertise, knowledge or interest, and previous committee experience. 

Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to include self-identifying information in the application to assist the Municipality in achieving its objectives of access, equity, and diversity. 

What happens to my application if I am not successful? 

Applications are not kept on file once appointments have been made. A new application is required for each recruitment period and each term of appointment.

What happens to late applications?

Applications must be submitted by the deadline; late applications are not considered.
If there are not enough applications from qualified or eligible candidates, the deadline may be extended. Extensions to deadlines will be noted on this website. 

How does the selection process work?

After the application period closes, Municipal Clerks Office staff review the applications to confirm that each applicant is eligible for appointment, including:
-    confirming that the application is complete and was submitted on time;
-    identifying current incumbents and determining their current length of service and eligibility to re-apply.

The selection process occurs during official In Camera (in private) meetings of the nominating and/or appointing meeting body, which could be Regional Council, a community council, or a standing committee. The process may include a review board, and/or interviews.  There may be multiple levels of review depending on the board or committee; review the terms of reference for the specific board or committee for details. 

The following may be considered during selection: 
(a) achieving a balance of experienced and new members;
(b) geographic representation from across the municipality; and
(c) representing the diversity and demographics of the community.

Appointment of alternates may be considered in case a vacancy occurs during the term of any member of the Committee of Council or external body.

What does a review board do? 

The role of a review board is to apply the Public Appointments Policy and any specific qualifications required as part of the recruitment process to review the applications and determine:
(a) eligibility;
(b) qualifications;
(c) diversity considerations; and
(d) potential conflicts of interest,

The review board prepares a shortlist for consideration by the nominating body.

As part of the selection process, a review board may be initiated by the Clerk or requested by the nominating body to review the applications. A review board will consist of the Chief Administrative Offer (CAO) or designate, the Clerk or designate, and a member of staff selected by the CAO.

For external bodies, a review board will   be initiated. The Clerk will invite the Chair or Vice Chair of the external body’s board of directors, and its head administrator or designate, to participate in the review board process.

If selected for nomination, will I be interviewed? 

Interviews occur for some recruitments; generally, if required by an external body or by the nominating body.  

If interviews occur, they are conducted with applicants who have been short-listed by the nominating body and are done generally in accordance with human resources practices. References may be requested by the interview panel. 

Once interviews have been completed, the interview panel reports the results of the interviews to the nominating body for its consideration.

How are appointments made?

Unless otherwise directed by Council at the time of a Committee of Council’s establishment, appointments are made by Council during an official In Camera (in private) meeting. 

The nominating body provides a list of candidates recommended for appointment, the term of appointment, and if recommended, a list of alternate appointments.

Council will appoint enough candidates to fill vacancies and may choose to also appoint alternates in case a vacancy occurs during the term of any member of the Committee of Council or external body.

What happens after the approval of appointments by Council?

After approval of appointments by Council, Municipal Clerks Office staff will:
- respond to all applicants by email to confirm if they are successful, unsuccessful, or selected as an alternate.
- for appointments to an external body, communicate to the external body the appointment or nomination made by Council and provide the external body with contact information for the appointee or nominee. 

When do appointments take effect?

Appointments to Committees of Council are conditional on acceptance by the applicant They take effect on receipt of the applicant’s acceptance by the Clerk’s Office.

Appointments or nominations to external bodies are conditional on acceptance by the applicant and take effect upon receipt of the applicant’s acceptance by the Clerk’s Office, except if the appointment process varies as outlined in the external body’s terms of reference.

If selected, how long do I have to decide if I wish to accept the appointment?

For most appointments, you have 14 days to accept the appointment once you receive notification from the Municipal Clerks Office. The Clerk may provide up to seven (7) additional days in extenuating circumstances.

Some external body appointments may have a different timeline, based on their terms of reference. 

How long are the terms of appointment? 

Most appointments to Committees of Council are for a term of two (2) years unless a different term length is chosen by Council. Each appointment shall continue until the successor is appointed.

The term of appointments to external bodies is as established by the external body.

How often are meetings?

Committees of Council typically meet once per month.  Meeting schedules and agendas for Committees of Council are posted here.  

External boards, committees and commissions manage their own meeting schedules and agendas.  

How much volunteer time is required of a Committee of Council member?

This depends on the Committee of Council and the type of work that group is involved with at the given time. Boards and committees may go through time periods where the amount of work they deal with fluctuates. For each meeting, you are expected to review the agenda and any related reports and documents in advance.

What does it mean if I have been selected as an alternate?

Alternates may be appointed in case a vacancy occurs on the Committee of Council or external board between recruitment periods. 

If you receive notification that you have been selected as an alternate, you will be asked to confirm if you accept. Once you accept, there is no action required from you until a vacancy becomes available. If/when a vacancy becomes available, the Municipal Clerks Office will reach out to selected alternates to confirm continued interest and eligibility in being a member of the committee. 

What if I need to miss meetings after I’ve been appointed? 

For Committees of Council, if you need to miss three or more meetings in a row, you should submit a request for a leave of absence to the Office of the Municipal Clerk, which shall submit the request to the appointing body for its consideration. The approval of a request for a leave of absence is in the sole discretion of the appointing body.

Under the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter, members who miss three regular meetings in a row without a formal leave of absence will be considered to have resigned from the committee. 

Read what former volunteers have to say about their experience.