It could be said that the ones most aware of the loss of print journalism are the ones who must adhere to it.
A letter of support was signed by the Tiny Township committee of the whole recently for a call to amend the Legislation Act, 2006 which requires provincial publication and notice requirements be circulated in printed sheet form at a timeframe of a week or less to the public.
In September, newspaper publication company Metroland Media Group was placed into bankruptcy protection, abruptly ending printed community newspapers across Ontario including the North Simcoe based Midland Mirror.
Shortly after the announcement, Township of McKellar councillors wrote a letter to provincial Attorney General Doug Downey requesting the government make an amendment to the Legislation Act to include digital publications as an acceptable way to get official notification to communities and residents.
Several municipalities have since taken to the letter of support, adding their voice to the chorus. At the recent meeting of Tiny Township, Mayor Dave Evans raised the matter during the communications section.
“I know we're in a bit of a transition now with our newspapers,” said Evans. “We are obligated legally to provide notification on many items, and right now we're not able to do it through a virtual medium.
“I see this as something that we should plan for, unfortunately, in the event that we don't have print media to be able to publicize,” he added. “I'd still give priority to print, but secondary to be able to have that option if need be.”
CAO Robert Lamb added that no print publication servicing North Simcoe can deliver notifications within the required one-week parameter.
“The legislation obviously doesn’t reflect the new reality that we’re living with in Ontario,” Lamb stated.
Members of the committee of the whole approved supporting the Township of McKellar request, with a copy of the support to be additionally sent to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra, Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, and the Association of Ontario Municipalities.
The letter from the Township of McKellar can be viewed on the agenda page on the Township of Tiny website.
Archives of council meetings are available to view on the Township’s YouTube channel.