Bringing Business to Council

As a member of the GSS, you have the right to bring issues to Council. You can bring it either as New Business or as a Committee of the Whole discussion. You can also just show up to speak about an item on the agenda which is important to you.

New Business is something that is voted on by the GSS. An examples of motions brought in the past by members are: Signing a Letter of Support against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline.

New business requires a backgrounder and a motion.

  • A backgrounder provides information on why you are bringing this issue to Council. You can review past Council Packages for what normally is included in a backgrounder. Typically, the backgrounder should contain why you think the issue is important and why the GSS should approve the motion.
  • A motion is what Council will vote on and will direct the actions of the Society. The motion should begin “Be It Resolved That” after which you can include the content of your motion. You can begin the motion with “Whereas” if there is more information required. You can also include a “Be it Further Resolved That” if you would like the GSS to take more than one action.
  • Examples 
    1. Whereas both Governance Committee and Executive Committee have recommended EXAMPLE for approval at Council,
      Be It Resolved That Council approve the updated EXAMPLE as circulated at the DATE Council meeting.
    2. Be It Resolved That the GSS show support for EXAMPLE by signing the letter circulated at the DATE Council meeting.
      Be it Further Resolved That the Director of University Relations present this letter to President Petter at their next regularly scheduled meeting.

The New Business deadline is 12pm, exactly one week before the Council date; however, any graduate student is entitled to add a motion to the Council agenda whenever they like, including from the floor of Council by motioning to amend the agenda. This is discouraged as it prevents Councillors from discussing the item with their Caucuses in advance of Council. New Business should be submitted when sending your RSVP here, or to

Please note that once a motion is being discussed at Council, it can be amended or substituted at Council’s discretion; the original submitter of the motion cannot control what happens to the motion.

Committee of the Whole is for Council to discuss issues without voting on them. You are not required to write a motion for Committee of the Whole, but it is recommended that you write a backgrounder to provide Councillors with an opportunity to discuss the topic with their Caucuses before the meeting. You must email at least a week before the Council date to have the item included in the Council Package. Like New Business items, graduate students are entitled to add Committee of the Whole items to the Council agenda at any point, including from the floor of Council, but this is discouraged as Councillors will not have the opportunity to discuss the issue with their members ahead of time.

The Committee of the Whole deadline is 12pm, exactly one week before the Council meeting. The discussion topic (and backgrounder if you intend to provide one) should be submitted in your RSVP here, or to RSVPs must be submitted by 12pm on the day of the Council meeting.

If you need help or advice while writing a backgrounder or motion or are wondering if you issue would be New Business or Committee of the Whole discussion, please contact the GSS Advocate and Policy Advisor at or the Director of Internal Relations at