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Investigation into the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ response to situations of crisis involving adults with developmental disabilities.
Date: 08-24-2016
 
The Ombudsman received a complaint that committee of the whole for the Township of Woolwich held an improper closed meeting between the closed and open sessions on March 22, 2016 at which they made a decision on an upcoming delegation. The Ombudsman found no evidence that a quorum of the committee discussed the delegation as a group behind closed doors, or laid the groundwork for a decision on the delegation.
Date: 08-11-2016
 
The Ombudsman received a complaint that on June 8, 2016, the board of directors for the Walkerton Business Improvement Area discussed matters that did not fall within the exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for litigation or potential litigation.
Date: 08-05-2016
 
The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the City of Sault Ste. Marie discussed matters that did not fall within the exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001 during a closed meeting on October 13, 2015. During the meeting, council received a presentation by the City’s Fire Chief. The Ombudsman determined that the meeting fit within the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations.
Date: 08-02-2016
 
Our Office received two complaints about the March 7, 2016 meeting held by the OPP Contact Adhoc Committee for the City of Brockville. Both complaints alleged that the committee’s meeting with representatives of the Ontario Provincial Police did not come within the Municipal Act's closed meeting exception for “education and training” sessions. The Ombudsman determined that the committee did not contravene the Act when it went in camera to acquire education and training about the OPP costing process. However, in addition to receiving this general information from the OPP, the committee decided to advance the costing process by voting to direct staff to approach an audit firm to assess the OPP costing proposal once the city receives it. This discussion and direction to staff advanced the committee’s business and decision-making and did not fall within the “education and training” exception, or any exception, to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman also identified various procedural issues with the committee's practices.
Date: 07-19-2016
 
The Ombudsman received a complaint that the Election Compliance Audit Committee for the City of Hamilton held a “deliberation” on July 15, 2015 that was illegally closed to the public. The Ombudsman determined that the city's Election Compliance Audit Committee falls within the Municipal Act’s definition of a “local board” and is subject to the Act’s open meeting requirements. The committee contravened the Act on July 15, 2015, when it met in private to deliberate on various applications that were before the committee. Notice of the meeting was not provided, no procedure was followed to close the meeting to the public, and even if this procedure had been followed, the committee’s discussion did not fall within any of the Act’s closed meeting exceptions.
Date: 07-19-2016
 
The Ombudsman received four complaints about a meeting held by council for the City of Oshawa on December 17, 2015. Each complaint alleged that council’s meeting with the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation on that date did not come within the Municipal Act’s closed meeting exception for “education and training” sessions. The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Oshawa contravened the Municipal Act on December 17, 2015, when it went in camera to obtain information about a proposed merger between OPUC and Veridian. This meeting did not fall within the “education and training” exception, or any exception, to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. A number of recommendations were made to assist the city in improving its open meeting practices.
Date: 07-19-2016
 
We received a complaint that council for the Town of Amherstburg discussed approval of the town’s accounts payable over email during December 2014 and January 2015. We also received complaints that council discussed items in closed meetings on October 14 and 26, 2015 that did not fit within the exceptions to the open meeting rules.
Date: 07-06-2016
 
Investigation into the direction provided by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to Ontario’s police services for de-escalation of conflict situations.
Date: 06-16-2016
 
We received complaints that council for Norfolk County discussed matters that did not fall within the exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001 during closed meetings on January 19 and February 16, 2016. The Ombudsman found that the discussion on January 19 fit within the exceptions for solicitor-client privilege, and litigation or potential litigation. The Ombudsman found that the February 16 discussion fit within the exception for personal matters about identifiable individuals. ​
Date: 06-10-2016
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Town of Midland violated the Municipal Act on September 14, 2015 when it discussed in camera matters relating to a housing development that did not fit within any exception to the open meeting rules. References during the discussion to personal matters about an individual were not the focus of the conversation and did not justify holding the discussion in camera. Council also contravened the Act when it voted on the housing matter during an illegal closed meeting. The Ombudsman found that Midland council did not contravene the open meeting rules on October 13, 2015, as its discussions fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual. On both dates, council for Midland violated a procedural requirement in the Act by failing to state by resolution the general nature of the matters to be considered in the closed sessions.
Date: 06-03-2016
 
Our Office received a complaint that Greater Sudbury's council held an illegal closed meeting on April 7, 2016 when it attended a roundtable with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The roundtable was closed to the media and the public. Our review determined that a meeting for the purposes of the Municipal Act did not occur since there was no discussion between council members of council business or the laying of groundwork for council business. Council members directly addressed their comments regarding the community needs and opportunities to the Prime Minister.
Date: 05-19-2016
 
Our Office received a complaint that Norfolk County's council-in-committee held an illegal closed meeting on December 1, 2015 when it went in camera to discuss whether to approve a legal services contract extension with two law firms. Our investigation determined that the majority of the committee's discussion did not fall within any of the exceptions to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman made a number of recommendations to improve local practices in the interest of transparency and accountability.
Date: 05-10-2016
 
Our Office received a complaint that council for The Nation Municipality held an illegal closed meeting on August 31, 2015 when it restricted access to a council meeting to those who could fit inside the Town Hall, and prohibited individuals from using a microphone and speakers to broadcast the meeting proceedings outside in the parking lot.
Date: 05-06-2016
 
We received a complaint that council for the Township of Russell discussed items in closed session on December 7, 2015, that did not fit within the exceptions to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that council contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it discussed councillor remuneration in closed session. However, council did not contravene the Act when it went in camera to discuss changes to township employee compensation. Portions of the discussion relating to the salaries of identified municipal employees fell within the closed meeting exception for personal information about an identifiable individual. Other portions of the discussion relating to the township’s compensation strategy and proposed changes to the salary grid fell within the closed meeting exception for labour relations or employee negotiations.
Date: 04-19-2016
 
We received two complaints that council for the City of London held an illegal closed meeting on June 10, 2015. Shortly after the meeting began, there was a disruption in the public gallery and members of the public were asked to leave the building. Once the security issue was resolved, the doors to City Hall remained locked to the public.
Date: 02-24-2016
 
We received a complaint that on December 14, 2015, a locked security door prevented the public from accessing the room where council for the Town of Fort Erie was holding what they thought was an open meeting of council. The Acting Ombudsman found that the locked door effectively prevented the public from accessing the meeting room. As a result, the meeting was improperly closed to the public and the public’s right to observe municipal government in process was frustrated. A number of recommendations were made to assist the town in improving its open meeting practices. ​
Date: 02-23-2016
 
Our office found that discussions of a consultant's report on July 3 and July 14, 2015 fit within the personal matters exception to the open meeting requirements. We made a number of suggestions, however, to improve the closed meeting practices of council for the Village of Casselman.
Date: 02-04-2016
 
We received a complaint that council for the Municipality of St.-Charles discussed items in closed meetings on May 15, 2012, June 19, 2013, and May 29, 2014 that did not fit within the exceptions to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that council for St.-Charles contravened the Municipal Act when it discussed audit reports, management letters, and other auditor findings and recommendations in closed session during each of the three meetings. Discussions of individual staff performance and conduct, which ensued as a result of the review of the audit report and management letter, fell within the exceptions for personal matters and labour relations.
Date: 02-04-2016
 
We received complaints about two closed meetings held by council for the Township of Russell during the afternoon and evening of August 10, 2015. Our review found that council did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001​ on the afternoon of August 10 when it went in camera to receive training on strategic planning because the discussion fell within the exception for education or training sessions. We also found that one matter discussed on the evening of August 10 fell within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual. However, our review found that three of the closed session matters discussed the evening of August 10 did not fall within any of the Act's exceptions to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 01-05-2016
 
January 1, 2016 will be no ordinary New Year’s Day in Ontario. It will mark the start of a new era of transparency for municipal government. For the first time, Ontarians will be able to turn to the Ombudsman’s Office for help if they have an unresolved issue with any local government service or official. With this change, ushered in last year with the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 (“Bill 8” for short), Ontario joins six other jurisdictions where Ombudsman oversight includes municipalities: British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Yukon and – as of November 2015 – Saskatchewan.
Date: 12-16-2015
 
We received a complaint that the Economic Development Committee for the Township of McKellar held an illegal meeting over email in April 2015 and in person on May 5, 2015. Our review found that the committee contravened the Act and the township's procedure by-law by holding a closed meeting and vote over email between April 22 and 24, 2015. We also found that the committee discussed a matter in camera on May 5 that did not fit within the exceptions in the Act. The Ombudsman noted that, at the time of the meetings, the committee was comprised entirely of volunteer members who acted in good faith while trying to deal with a difficult relationship with council. A number of recommendations were made to assist the township in improving its open meeting practices.
Date: 12-04-2015
 
We received a complaint that the heads of council for seven municipalities in West Parry Sound (the Township of Carling, the Municipality of Whitestone, the Town of Parry Sound, the Township of The Archipelago, Seguin Township, the Municipality of McDougall, and the Township of McKellar) have been holding illegal closed meetings, including on February 19, 2015. Our review found that the heads of council gatherings are not meetings for the purposes of the open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman encouraged the heads of council to consider opening their gatherings to the public, given the public interest in many of the matters they discuss.
Date: 12-01-2015
 
We received a complaint that the May 13, 2015 inaugural meeting of the Long Term Care Task Force for the Niagara Region was illegally closed to the public. Our investigation found that this meeting contravened the open meeting provisions of the Municipal Act, 2001 and the region's procedure by-law. Notice of the meeting was not provided, no procedure was followed to close the meeting to the public, and, even if this procedure had been followed, the task force's discussion did not fall within any of the closed meeting exceptions. A number of recommendations were made to assist the task force in improving its open meeting practices. ​
Date: 11-28-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the May 25 and June 15, 2015 social gatherings attended by councillors for the City of Owen Sound did not contravene the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001. In addition, the Ombudsman found that council did not contravene the Act on April 27, 2015 when it went in camera to receive legal advice to related to council’s faith blessing. The Ombudsman did not make any recommendations to council.
Date: 11-26-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the May 19 and June 2, 2015 closed session discussions of the Public Works Committee for the Township of Bonfield did not violate the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001. However, the Ombudsman did identify several procedural violations and made a number of recommendations to improve local practices in the interest of transparency and accountability.
Date: 11-23-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the June 15, 2015 closed session discussion of the Administration/Finance/Fire Committee of the Township of West Lincoln did not violate the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman also found that the June 22, 2015 closed session discussion by council for the Township of West Lincoln did not violate the Act’s open meeting provisions. Both meetings fell within the exception for advice subject to solicitor-client privilege. However, the Ombudsman identified several issues with the township's closed meeting procedures and made recommendations to improve council's practices.
Date: 11-23-2015
 
We received complaints that council for the Town of Amherstburg held illegal closed meeting on January 10 and June 2, 2015. Our review found that the discussions on January 10 fit within the exceptions for personal matters about an identifiable individual and solicitor-client privilege. We found that the discussions on June 2 fit within the exceptions for personal matters about an identifiable individual, solicitor-client privilege, and labour relations or employee negotiations.
Date: 11-20-2015
 
We received a complaint that council for the City of Port Colborne held illegal meetings on March 8, 2010, January 27, 2014, and December 8, 2014. Our review found that the council discussions on March 8, 2010 fit within the exceptions for acquisition or disposition of land and personal matters about an identifiable individual. Discussions on January 27, 2014 fit within the exceptions for personal matters, acquisition or disposition of land, and advice subject to solicitor-client privilege. On December 8, 2014, the city held an illegal closed meeting. Council's discussions regarding corporate expansion projects, a non-profit organization, and the disposition of city-owned shares in a company did not fit within any of the exceptions to the open meeting rules. Our Office advised the City to cite the proper exception to close a meeting, provide more specificity in the resolution to close a meeting, and avoid talking about matters in camera that do not fit within an exception in the Act.
Date: 11-19-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the council for the City of Niagara Falls did not violate the open meeting provisions of the Municipal Act, 2001 when it informally discussed the council prayer on April 28, 2015.
Date: 11-09-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Elliot Lake did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 during in-camera meetings on April 13 and April 17, 2015. In addition, there was no evidence that an informal meeting took place on April 17, 2015 following the meeting of council. The Ombudsman also found that an April 20, 2015 gathering of three members of council was not a meeting for the purposes of the open meeting requirements of the Act.
Date: 11-09-2015
 
Our Office found that council for the Township of Russell held an illegal closed meeting on June 1, 2015 when it went in camera to view a rebranding presentation for the township. The rebranding presentation did not fall within the exception for education and training sessions, or any other exception, to the open meeting requirements. We also found that the municipality violated section 239(4)(a) of the Act by failing to state by resolution the general nature of the topics to be considered in closed session.
Date: 11-02-2015
 
Our Office found that the discussions held by council for the Municipality of Brighton on May 28, 2015 fit within the closed meeting exceptions in the Municipal Act. However, council technically contravened the voting provisions of the Municipal Act and the township’s procedure by-law when it voted on five resolutions in camera. While the purpose and effect of the resolutions was to provide direction to staff, they were not worded as such. Our Office also found that the municipality violated section 239(4)(a) of the Act by failing to state by resolution the general nature of the topics to be considered in closed session.
Date: 11-02-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the Town of Essex held an illegal closed meeting when it exercised its authority and decided through a series of emails in April 2015 to modify the council prayer. The Ombudsman acknowledged that council and staff acted in good faith in order to ensure compliance with the law as clarified by the Supreme Court of Canada. In their haste, however, they failed to turn their minds to the need for transparency and the open meeting requirements contained in the Municipal Act.
Date: 10-30-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that, when councils for Armour Township and the Village of Burk’s Falls met in camera on January 16, 2015, parts of the discussion did not fit within the exceptions in to the open meeting rules in the Act. The councils also failed to comply with a number of procedural rules in the Act and their respective procedure by-laws. A number of recommendations were made to each municipality to improve local practices in the interest of transparency and accountability.
Date: 10-28-2015
 
The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula voted illegally during several closed sessions discussing the Wiarton Keppel International Airport, all of which were closed under the “acquisition or disposition of land” exception to the open meeting provisions of the Municipal Act, 2001 (the Act). The complaint also alleged other procedural irregularities, informal gatherings and a serial meeting by email. The Ombudsman found that the town did not contravene the open meeting requirements of the Act, though he did identify best practices and procedural step to further improve the town's meeting practices.
Date: 10-06-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Township of Woolwich contravened the Municipal Act during in-camera discussions on January 13, January 20 and February 3, 2015, as well as when it voted to direct staff while in camera on January 20 and February 3, while discussing matters that were not permitted in camera. Council did not contravene the Act during an in camera discussion related to litigation or potential litigation at an August 11, 2014 committee meeting.
Date: 08-10-2015
 
Ombudsman's Message: A decade of progress

This annual report is a milestone for the Ombudsman’s Office. We are approaching our 40th anniversary, and I have had the honour of serving Ontarians as Ombudsman for just over 10 of those years. The past decade has been a time of remarkable change and progress in government accountability. Even more lies ahead in the coming months, with the historic expansion of our mandate to municipalities, universities and school boards.
Date: 07-28-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council did not contravene the Municipal Act or its procedure by-law by laying the groundwork for future decision-making. However, he did find that the information provided by email and in person prior to this meeting came very close to the line. The only reason the councillor's attempts to lay the groundwork for an upcoming decision of council did not rise to the level of a closed meeting for the purposes of the Act is that he was unsuccessful in his attempt to discuss the matter with a quorum of council.
Date: 07-10-2015
 
The Ombudsman was unable to confirm that closed meetings held in November and December 2013 were justified under the Municipal Act, due to the lack of meeting records and available witness information. However, the Ombudsman found that council for the Township of Chamberlain did not violate the Act when it closed part of its June 3, 2014, February 3, 2015, and February 6, 2015 meetings to the public. The Ombudsman made a number of recommendations to assist council to improve its practices with respect to open meetings.
Date: 07-08-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the discussions held by council for McMurrich-Monteith fit within the exceptions in the Municipal Act. The Ombudsman found that the township violated section 239(4)(a) of the Act by failing to state by resolution the general nature of the topics to be considered in closed session on January 12 and February 9. The Ombudsman also found that the township violated its procedural by-law by extending a closed meeting past its 11 p.m. curfew. Further, the township is not following best practices by failing to provide enough information in its agendas about matters to be discussed in closed session, and by failing to ensure that its agendas and resolutions correctly cite the Act.
Date: 07-06-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Municipality of Magnetawan contravened the Act and its own procedure by-law by failing to provide advance notice of the February 28 meeting. Due to the lack of notice, the public was unable to attend the meeting, such that the meeting was effectively closed. The discussions that took place did not fit within any exceptions in the Act. The Ombudsman found that the discussions held in closed session on March 4 fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.
Date: 06-24-2015
 
We received a complaint that London's Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee illegally closed a meeting to discuss proposals from developers hoping to purchase and redevelop land owned by the City. The Ombudsman found that the discussions fit within the exceptions for acquisition or disposition of land and solicitor-client privilege.
Date: 06-12-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that discussions held in person and over email by councillors-elect for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands prior to their swearing in did not constitute illegal meetings under the Act because there was technically no quorum of council involved.
Date: 06-05-2015
 
Investigation into the transparency of Hydro One’s billing practices and the timeliness and effectiveness of its process for responding to customer concerns
Date: 05-25-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Town of Cochrane did not violate the Municipal Act when it closed part of its January 27, 2015 meeting under the "advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege" exception.
Date: 04-27-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Elliot Lake did not contravene the Municipal Act when it proceeded in camera at meetings held on December 1 and December 15, 2014, and January 5 and February 9, 2015. However, council did contravene the Act when it considered a matter in camera at its December 22, 2014 meeting that did not fit within the "personal matters" exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 04-24-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the City of Hamilton did not contravene the Municipal Act when it closed a meeting to the public on December 10, 2014, under the "acquisition or disposition of land" and "a matter under another act" exceptions.
Date: 04-22-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Village of Casselman violated the open meeting requirements at a lunchtime gathering with developers on January 8, 2015.
Date: 04-16-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Town of Amherstburg violated the Municipal Act when it discussed bank signing authorities in closed session under the "personal matters" exception on December 10, 2014.
Date: 04-13-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the Town of Fort Erie did not contravene the Municipal Act when it held a closed meeting on December 10 for the purpose of "education or training". However, the "acquisition or disposition of land" exception, which also was cited, did not apply to the discussions held on December 10.
Date: 04-13-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Municipality of Central Huron did not contravene the Municipal Act when it closed a portion of its January 12, 2015, meeting under the "personal matters" exception. However, the Ombudsman found that council violated its procedure by-law when it failed to audio or video record the closed session.
Date: 04-06-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Town of Bracebridge did not contravene the Municipal Act when it closed portions of the December 9 and December 17 meetings under the "personal matters" exception.
Date: 03-18-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the City of Niagara Falls held an illegal meeting on October 8, 2013. The matter discussed did not fit within any permissible exceptions to the open meeting requirements, and no public notice of the closed session was provided.
Date: 03-05-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the in camera discussion held by council for the City of Niagara Falls on May 29, 2012 with respect to Marineland fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception to the open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman also found that informal "operational" meetings in 2011, 2012 and 2013 did not constitute meetings for the purposes of the open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman made recommendations to improve the City of Niagara Falls’ procedure by-law.
Date: 03-05-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that a dinner on November 11, 2014, attended by the newly elected council did not violate the open meeting requirements. However, the Ombudsman found that the signing of a letter on November 6, 2014, by a quorum of council in office at the time was an exercise of council authority in a sequential or serial manner, in violation of the open meeting requirements.
Date: 03-03-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Municipality of South Huron did not contravene the Municipal Act during seven meetings held between November 2008 and December 2013.
Date: 03-02-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Village of Westport contravened its procedure by-law by failing to provide adequate notice of the October 28, 2014 council meeting.
Date: 02-13-2015
 
Read the Ombudsman's third annual report on the work of our Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team (OMLET), which is solely devoted to upholding Ontario’s municipal open meeting law, also known as the Sunshine Law.
Date: 01-27-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Thorold did not contravene the Municipal Act during individual discussions held between November 3 and November 28, 2014.
Date: 01-23-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that discussions held by council for the Town of Cochrane at its February 12, 2013 meeting fit within the personal matters exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 01-12-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the September 2, 2014 meeting of the Committee of the Whole of the Township of Black River-Matheson violated the open meeting requirements, because public notice of the changed location of the meeting was not provided.
Date: 01-09-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that the August 27, 2014 meeting of council for the City of Clarence-Rockland was improperly closed to the public when council moved to a small conference room that could only accommodate council and select members of the media. The Ombudsman further found that the September 15, 2014, meeting was an open meeting of council and did not violate the requirements of the Municipal Act.
Date: 01-09-2015
 
The Ombudsman found that discussions held by council for the Town of Amherstburg at its July 7 and September 8, 2014 meetings fit within the cited exceptions to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 12-15-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that a July 25, 2014 closed-door meeting between members of Hamilton's Government Relations Contact Team and two Members of Provincial Parliament did not constitute a meeting of council or a committee of council for the purpose of the open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman recommended that the city clarify the membership, role and authority of the Government Relations Contact Team.
Date: 12-12-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that closed session discussions held by council for the Township of Baldwin on September 8, 2014 were permissible under the exceptions to the open meeting requirements. However, council took an illegal vote during the closed session in violation of the Municipal Act.
Date: 12-09-2014
 
An email of August 9, 2014, and a gathering of August 13, 2014, did not constitute meetings for the purposes of the open meeting provisions of the Municipal Act, 2001. In neither case was there an exercise of the authority of council or laying of the groundwork to exercise such authority.
Date: 11-19-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that in camera discussion held by council for the Municipality of Whitestone on February 4, 2014 fit within the personal matters and labour relations exceptions to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 11-18-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Welland held illegal closed sessions on March 18, April 15, and May 6. At these meetings, council discussed matters in closed session that were not permissible under the exceptions to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 11-18-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that a July 2, 2014 gathering of three members of council for the City of Elliot Lake at a Sustainable Development Roundtable did not constitute a meeting for the purpose of the open meeting requirements.
Date: 11-10-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that discussions held by the Finance and Administration Committee for the City of Elliot Lake on July 7, 2014 fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 10-27-2014
 
Investigation into how the Ministry of Education responds to complaints and concerns relating to unlicensed daycare providers.
Date: 10-22-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that Council's consideration in closed session of a letter of interest for a vacant lot fell within the "acquisition and disposition of land" exception to the open meeting requirements. As such, the closed meeting held by the Council for the Town of Hawkesbury on August 18, 2014, was not in violation of the Municipal Act.
Date: 10-15-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that a gathering of councillors at a local wharf on April 25, 2014, was a meeting of council for the purpose of the open meeting requirements, and that this meeting was not closed to the public in violation of the open meeting requirements.
Date: 10-08-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that the Waterfront Improvement Committee for the Township of Billings was a committee of council, as described by the Township's procedure by-law. Although the Committee was already holding open meetings, the Ombudsman encouraged the Township to formalize the Committee's terms of reference, as well as the notice procedures for the Committee's meetings.
Date: 10-08-2014
 
In his report "Let's Flip For It," the Ombudsman found that a closed session in the Township of Billings - in which council tossed a coin to choose a new councillor - was an illegal closed meeting under the Municipal Act.
Date: 10-08-2014
 
In reviewing a complaint about four closed meetings held by council for the Town of Moosonee, the Ombudsman found that the subject matter of the August 26, 2013 closed session did not fit within the "education or training" exception, or any exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 09-23-2014
 
"Turning Tables" - Investigation into whether members of Council for the City of London held an improper closed meeting on June 24, 2014. The Ombudsman concluded that a gathering of 12 council members in the City Hall cafeteria between meetings on June 24, 2014 - prior to a vote to fill a vacant council seat the next day - did not violate the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001.
Date: 09-19-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that some discussions held by council for the City of Elliot Lake during an October 25, 2013 closed session fell within the "personal matters" exception to the open meeting requirements, as they related to unproven allegations against an identified member of council.
Date: 09-19-2014
 
In reviewing a complaint about closed meetings of Council held in December 2013, March and April 2014, the Ombudsman determined that the December gathering complained of did not constitute a "meeting" under the Municipal Act, 2001. However, an illegal meeting was held on March 26, 2014, when Council exercised its authority through the serial attendance of councillors at the Township office to approve a resolution. In addition, the April closed meetings were permissible under the "personal matters" and "solicitor-client" privilege exceptions. A number of procedural recommendations were also made.
Date: 09-11-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that the Committee's March 25, 2014 in camera discussion regarding the possibility of having a junior hockey team in the City did involve some personal information, however most of the discussion did not fit within the "personal matters" exception or any exception to the open meeting requirements, and should have taken place in open session.
Date: 09-05-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that discussions held by council for the Township of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan during two closed sessions on March 19, 2014 fit within the "education and training" and "personal matters" exceptions to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 09-05-2014
 
The Ombudsman found no evidence that Council members for the Municipality of West Nipissing met behind closed doors with the engineers working on a drainage project in violation of the open meeting requirements in December 2011.
Date: 09-03-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the Township of Russell discussed three items in closed session on May 5, 2014 under the "security of the property" exception that did not fit within that exception, or any exception to the open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman also cautioned that council should ensure that all matters discussed in closed session fit within the exceptions cited in the resolution to proceed in camera.
Date: 08-25-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that council's March 31, 2014 discussion regarding a grant to the Fort Erie Racetrack did fit within the "acquisition or disposition of land" exception, because the grant was directly related to a potential land acquisition, such that both matters could not be discussed separately.
Date: 08-18-2014
 
The Ombudsman did not uncover any evidence that a quorum of council met secretly prior to the May 21 or September 3, 2013 public council meetings to discuss the appointment of a third party investigator or the elimination of the Auditor General's office.
Date: 07-29-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that council's April 16 closed meeting discussion regarding comments made by a councillor about staff performance did fit within the "personal matters" exception.
Date: 07-21-2014
 
The Ombudsman determined that Midland Council's March 17, 2014 closed meeting discussion about the Chief Administrative Officer's absence and workload coverage during the absence fell within the "personal matters" exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 06-24-2014
 
The Ombudsman reviewed a complaint that meetings of the Board of the Northern Institute of the Arts (known locally as the White Mountain Academy) was a "local board" of the City of Elliot Lake, subject to the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001 (the "Act").
Date: 06-24-2014
 
The ombudsman found that council for the City of Owen Sound violated the Municipal Act, 2001 when it went in camera to discuss and vote on funding for an MRI campaign on March 23, 2011. The Ombudsman also recommended that the City's procedure by-law be updated.
Date: 06-24-2014
 
Ombudsman’s Message: Reaching new heights

This year has been an exceptional one for my Office, for both the sheer volume of public complaints and systemic investigations that we managed, and the historic progress that was achieved towards modernizing our mandate.
Date: 06-23-2014
 
Investigation into how the Ministry of Transportation administers the process for obtaining and assessing information about drivers who may have uncontrolled hypoglycemia.
Date: 04-30-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that two separate in camera meetings involving City of London council were closed appropriately.
Date: 04-25-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that the Ajax General Government Committee's May 23, 2013 closed door discussion about the disposition of municipal lands (potential lease or sale of lands) fell within the "acquisition or disposition of land" exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 04-25-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Timmins did not violate the Municipal Act when it went in camera on September 25, 2013, to discuss "potential litigation" with respect to the wastewater treatment plant upgrade.
Date: 04-17-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh did not violate the Municipal Act, 2001 when it went in camera on February 18, 2014 to discuss potential litigation with respect to a wind energy company's discharge of water onto a municipal road allowance.
Date: 04-14-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that the Niagara District Airport Commission did not hold a "secret" meeting to discuss and decide handling of Freedom of Information requests that were before the Commission. The matter was discussed at a special meeting that was open to the public on December 19, 2013 and public notice was provided on the Commission's website.
Date: 03-24-2014
 
The Ombudsman did not uncover any evidence to support the complaint that council members for the Township of Nairn and Hyman discussed a community investment proposal from a mining/explosives company behind closed doors.
Date: 03-20-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that closed meetings held by the Municipality of Killarney's Ad-Hoc Committee between June and August 2013 contravened the municipality's procedure by-law because, under the by-baw, all committee meetings must be open to the public unless the subject matter falls within one of the open meeting exceptions of the Municipal Act, 2001
Date: 03-14-2014
 
The Ombudsman determined that a quorum of Council's November 1, 2013 meeting with Chief Day of the Serpent River First Nation violated the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act.
Date: 03-10-2014
 
The Ombudsman determined that Council's September 9, 2013 closed meeting discussion with the owner of a local sports bar about the terms of a lease agreement violated the Municipal Act.
Date: 02-24-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that council's July 22, 2013 discussion of a Council member's request for indemnification for legal fees incurred as a Police Services Board member did not qualify for closed meeting consideration under the open meeting exceptions as the subject matter pertained to the Council member's activities in his professional role and the invoice considered did not reveal any privileged communications between solicitor and client.
Date: 02-19-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that Council's July 23, 2013 closed meeting with its Solicitor to receive advice about litigation filed against the Town in relation to a building permit/development dispute, was permitted under both the "solicitor client privilege" and "litigation or potential litigation" exceptions to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 02-07-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that Markstay-Warren council's closed meeting discussions in July and August 2013 about a proposed land acquisition were permitted in closed session. However, the Ombudsman recommended that council provide more detail in its closed meeting records or consider audio or video recording meetings to ensure a complete and accurate record.
Date: 01-27-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that Council's closed meeting discussion with its Solicitor on November 19, 2013 to seek advice on the terms of an outstanding Agreement of Purchase and Sale, which was also subject to an appeal before the Land Registry Tribunal, was permitted under the "solicitor-client privilege" exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 01-24-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that Council's August 27, 2013 closed meeting discussion with the Municipality's Solicitor about a proposed building by-law, being considered in response to litigation filed against the Municipality, was permitted under the "solicitor-client privilege" and "litigation or potential litigation" exceptions.
Date: 01-03-2014
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the Township of Ryerson improperly discussed the Thompson quarry/pit zoning application in closed meetings held on September 24, 2012 and July 9, 2013 and, during the September 24, 2012 closed meeting Council improperly introduced a topic without referencing the matter in the resolution to proceed in camera.
Date: 12-19-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the September 10 meeting of the Planning Committee for the Town of Larder Lake was open to the public.
Date: 12-16-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the Town of Amherstburg did not violate the Municipal Act, 2001 when it held an emergency closed meeting on October 21, 2013.
Date: 12-13-2013
 
Read the Ombudsman's second annual report on the work of our Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team (OMLET), which is solely devoted to upholding Ontario’s municipal open meeting law, also known as the Sunshine Law.
Date: 12-11-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that a majority of council met illegally in November 2012 before decorating a float for local Christmas parades. He also found that a February 2013 committee meeting was appropriately closed to discuss “employee negotiations” – however, it violated the Act because no public notice was given.
Date: 12-06-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Timmins did not violate the Municipal Act when it held a closed meeting on June 17, 2013 to consider a complaint against a resident with respect to allegations of a zoning by-law infraction.
Date: 11-27-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that an October 31, 2010 gathering including one incumbent Council member and four Councillors-elect with the lawyer for the Fort Erie Waterfront Association was not subject to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 11-25-2013
 
The Ombudsman did not uncover evidence that the Council for the Town of Mattawa held a secret meeting to discuss extending the Mayor's duties and increasing his pay for a limited period, a decision that was unanimously passed by Council at a June 24, 2013 public Council meeting.
Date: 11-21-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the Township of North Dumfries did not violate the open meeting requirements with respect to an August 19, 2013 closed session at which Council received an update from the Township Solicitor on matters before the Ontario Municipal Board. The discussion qualified for closed meeting consideration under the "litigation or potential litigation" exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 11-07-2013
 
Based on the Ombudsman's review, it appears the Commission is a local board subject to the open meeting requirements. Under the circumstances, the Commission should enact a procedure by-law governing meetings in accordance with the Municipal Act and comply with the open meeting requirements.
Date: 11-04-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that members of the Personnel Committee for the Township of Bonfield did not violate the open meeting requirements with respect to an October 8, 2013 closed session at which the Committee received an update on an on-going municipal labour dispute, a pending Labour Relations Board hearing, and employment matters pertaining to specific municipal employees were discussed.
Date: 10-30-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the Acton Business Improvement Area Board's June 18, 2013 consideration of a lease agreement qualified for closed meeting consideration. However, we identified a number of procedural violations with respect to the resolution to proceed in camera, the meeting record, and the Board's Procedure By-Law.
Date: 10-25-2013
 
Ontario Ombudsman does not find that the Procedure By-Law Review Committee held an illegal closed meeting between May 14 and June 24, 2013.
Date: 10-22-2013
 
“In the Back Room” - Ombudsman Report. Investigation into whether members of Council for the City of London held an improper closed meeting on February 23, 2013
Date: 10-22-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that a quorum of Council for the Township of Adelaide Metcalfe illegally met behind closed doors with representatives from a wind energy corporation on January 25, 2012.
Date: 10-21-2013
 
In a reviewing a complaint about five closed meetings between October 2012 and March 2013, the Ombudsman found that the subject matter discussed during each of the in camera sessions was permitted under the Municipal Act. However, Council did improperly vote during the in camera session of the November 26, 2012 Council meeting.
Date: 10-07-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that there had been no secret meetings of council at the township landfill site on August 3 and August 7, 2013, preceding the cancellation of a number of council and committee meetings.
Date: 09-23-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council improperly introduced and discussed a Councillor cost reimbursement policy in a May 7, 2013 closed meeting.
Date: 09-09-2013
 
The Ombudsman did not find that there had been secret meetings involving members of Council prior to the passage of a by-law regarding wind turbines at the January 14, 2013 Council meeting.
Date: 09-09-2013
 
The Ombudsman determined that Council did not violate the open meeting requirements in relation to pre-meeting gatherings held on July 10, 2012 and March 12, 2013.
Date: 08-23-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the CAO's February 19, 2013 announcement to a quorum of Council about the resignation of a senior staff's resignation did not constitute a "meeting" for the purposes of the open meeting requirements, as no substantive discussion of Council business took place.
Date: 08-20-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Elliot Lake Council's June 4, 2013 in camera discussion on the status of negotiations between a Joint Relations Committee and the Serpent River First Nation, which was attended by non-Council members of the Committee, was permitted under the Act.
Date: 08-16-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the September 12, 2012 meeting among six of the seven members of the Niagara District Airport Liaison Committee did not violate the Municipal Act.
Date: 07-31-2013
 
Ombudsman's Message: The multipurpose Ombudsman

The stories in this report, arising from the 19,726 cases we received in 2012-2013, demonstrate how my Office uses a variety of tools to resolve individual and systemic concerns. Picture a “Swiss Army”-style knife with all sorts of useful accountability gadgets: A barometer, a horsefly, an oil can, a safety valve and more.
Date: 07-08-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council's consideration of a matter involving disposition of city-owned lands in a May 21, 2013 closed session was permitted under the Act, and that the city did not violate the open meeting requirements during a meeting on March 20.
Date: 07-05-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council did not violate the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001 when it met behind closed doors on January 23, 2013 to seek legal advice about a contract with a consultant.
Date: 06-24-2013
 
The Ombudsman determined that the Town of South Bruce Peninsula did not violate the open meeting requirements when it went in camera on seven occasions between September 4, 2012 and January 15, 2013.
Date: 06-18-2013
 
Ombudsman report - Investigation into the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ response to allegations of excessive use of force against inmates.
Date: 06-11-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the City of Sault Ste. Marie's Procedure By-Law Review Committee violated the open meeting requirements and its procedure by-law when it held closed meetings on November 1, 2012 and January 28, 2013.
Date: 06-10-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the City of Elliot Lake did not violate the Municipal Act or its Procedure By-Law when it held a special closed meeting without advance public notice in order to discuss an urgent matter with its solicitor.
Date: 05-14-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the September 10 meeting of the Planning Committee for the Town of Larder Lake was open to the public, however he noted that the town's procedure by-law should be amended to state that the Committee must follow the open meeting requirements at its meetings, given that four of the five members of council sit on the Committee.
Date: 05-14-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Fort Erie Council's February 4, 2013 closed meeting discussion of the mayor's alleged breach of the Town's Code of Conduct was not authorized under the "personal matters" exception of the Municipal Act, as the subject matter discussed was about the mayor in a professional context, and did not involve consideration of 'personal' information.
Date: 05-13-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the Town of Pelham did not improperly vote on an Environmental Protection by-law in closed session, and that Council's March 4 closed session to discuss the by-law fell within the "advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege" exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 05-08-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that a gathering of four of the nine Niagara District Airport Commission members and four of thirteen St. Catharines Council members on December 9, 2012, was not a "meeting" for the purposes of the open meeting requirements.
Date: 04-30-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the Elliot Lake Economic Development Committee's January 29, 2013 closed meeting discussion included the evaluation and assessment of individual qualifications, experience, and character traits, and, therefore, qualified for closed meeting consideration under the "personal matters" exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 04-24-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that St. Catharines Council's December 17, 2012 closed meeting discussion about potential cuts to identifiable employees in the City of Thorold's Fire Service qualified for closed meeting consideration under the "personal matters" exception.
Date: 04-19-2013
 
The Ombudsman determined that Council's review of information related to an ongoing Ontario Municipal Board appeal during a closed meeting on November 10, 2010 was permitted in a closed meeting under the "litigation or potential litigation" exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 03-27-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the Municipality of Central Huron contravened the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act during meetings held in May and July, 2012, but that a closed meeting on June 11 was justified based on the exceptions contained in the Act.
Date: 03-13-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the Planning and Development Committee's consideration of a zoning dispute in its November 7, 2012 closed meeting was permitted under the "potential litigation" exception to the open meeting requirements, as there was a very real potential that litigation would occur if the particular zoning matter was not resolved.
Date: 03-04-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council's closed meeting with the Township Solicitor on November 12, 2012 to discuss the status of an Ontario Municipal Board appeal fell within the "litigation or potential litigation" exception to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 02-25-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the Niagara District Airport Commission held improper in camera discussions on May 3 and May 17, 2012, in violation of the Municipal Act. The Commission also conducted improper votes while in closed session at these meetings.
Date: 02-22-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the Township of Tiny improperly discussed one item in closed session at its October 29 meeting, in violation of the Municipal Act.
Date: 02-21-2013
 
In reviewing a number of closed meetings held between November 2011 and September 2012, the Ombudsman found that council contravened the open meeting requirements at the November 1, 2011 meeting. The Ombudsman also provided some recommendations to help improve the transparency of closed meetings.
Date: 02-21-2013
 
The Ombudsman did not find that council for the City of Greater Sudbury violated the open meeting requirements when it closed two meetings in June 2012 to the public in order to discuss the contract of an identified member of staff. However, council did improperly vote during the in camera session on June 12, 2012.
Date: 02-15-2013
 
The Ombudsman did not find that council for the Municipality of Lambton Shores violated the open meeting requirements when it closed a November 13, 2012 meeting to the public in order to discuss an identified member of staff. However, council did improperly vote during the in camera session.
Date: 02-11-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the Town of Hearst's review of five applications/letters of interest for the Council seat vacancy was permitted under the Act.
Date: 02-08-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that a series of e-mails sent by Municipality of Leamington council members in response to a resident's inquiry and copied to all Council members did not constitute an (electronic) meeting that was subject to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 02-01-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that council in the Town of Blind River did not violate the Municipal Act when it held a closed meeting on September 17, 2012.
Date: 01-24-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that Council in the Township of Ryerson's discussion of matters pertaining to a quarry zoning application was not permitted within a closed meeting, with one exception - Council's review of written legal advice at the end of hour and forty-five minute meeting did qualify for closed meeting consideration under the "solicitor-client privilege" exception of the Act.
Date: 01-22-2013
 
The Ombudsman found that the Centennial Celebration Committee, comprised of the Mayor of Sarnia, City Manager, and no less than seven citizens, did not meet the definition of "committee" under the Municipal Act and, therefore, was not subject to the open meeting requirements.
Date: 11-19-2012
 
Ontario municipal councillors should hold fewer closed meetings, record them electronically and be more mindful of public concerns when they gather outside of council chambers, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin says in his first ever annual report on closed municipal meetings in Ontario.
Date: 10-30-2012
 
Investigation into how the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services have addressed operational stress injuries affecting police officers.
Date: 10-24-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that Council's agenda and resolution to proceed in camera did not accurately reflect the substance of the closed meeting on May 9, 2012.
Date: 10-11-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that the Town of Kearney's Ad Hoc Personnel Committee violated the Municipal Act when it held a closed meeting in April 2011.
Date: 09-27-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the Town of Midland discussed issues in closed session on multiple occasions between December 2011 and March 2012 in circumstances that were not permitted under the exceptions to the Municipal Act.
Date: 09-21-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that the Regional Municipality of Niagara's notice practice for advisory committee meetings did not comply with its Procedure By-Law in that agendas were not posted on the website prior to meetings.
Date: 09-12-2012
 
In reviewing complaints that Council in Morris-Turnberry improperly discussed in closed meetings the development of a local fire department , the Ombudsman found that Council did not always accurately or clearly identify the subject matter to be discussed or the exceptions authorizing the closed meetings. In addition, at the December 20, 2011 meeting, Council strayed from the subject matter permitted in a closed meeting.
Date: 09-10-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the United Townships of Head, Clara and Maria did not contravene the Municipal Act at meetings held in October and November 2011. The Ombudsman provided some best practice recommendations to help improve the transparency of closed meetings.
Date: 09-07-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that Council for the City of Elliot Lake violated the Municipal Act when a quorum of council attended a meeting of the Elliot Lake Residential Development Commission on April 16, 2012, and a meeting of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization on April 26, 2012.
Date: 09-05-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that the City of Greater Sudbury did not contravene the open meeting requirements during meetings on October 3 and 12, November 9 and December 14, 2011, during which a personal matter related to an identifiable individual was discussed. However, he did strongly criticize council members for their reluctance to co-operate with the investigative process.
Date: 08-30-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that the City of London did not contravene the open meeting requirements when six members of council met for lunch at a local restaurant on February 21, 2012, prior to a budget meeting and several committee meetings.
Date: 08-02-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that the Town of Amherstburg did not contravene the open meeting requirements when it received advice subject to solicitor-client privilege in a closed session on January 9, 2012, or when it went in camera on February 13, 2012.
Date: 07-20-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that Fort Erie Council complied with the open meeting requirements in regard to closed meetings held on July 9 and 16, 2012, however, they violated the open meeting requirements at two closed meetings in April and May, 2012.
Date: 07-16-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that the Township of Tiny's Committee of the Whole's March 26, 2012 closed meeting discussion about the public's reaction to a court decision was not permitted in a closed meeting under the exception "litigation or potential litigation." In addition, the Ombudsman found that the Committee could have been more transparent in terms of the information provided to the public about the nature of closed meetings held on January 9 and March 12, 2006.
Date: 07-02-2012
 

Ombudsman's Message: Limit spending, not fairness

As I write this message, I am acutely aware that Ontario’s public service and its citizens are bracing for the impact of new cost-containment measures. To their immense credit, parliamentarians and senior government officials have continued to show support and respect for the work of my Office. They have recognized the value of Ombudsman oversight, even in tough times, as a means to ensure accountability and spur increased efficiency and fairness in the provision of public services.
Date: 06-19-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that the Township of Adelaide Metcalfe did not contravene the Municipal Act during two closed meetings in March 2012.
Date: 06-04-2012
 
The Ombudsman reviewed three closed meetings in late 2011 and early 2012 and found that the matter discussed was permitted in a closed meeting. However, the Ombudsman found that Council improperly relied on the "security of the property exception" to close two of the meetings and voted on a substantive matter in another closed session, contrary to the Act.
Date: 05-29-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that Council of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands violated the open meeting requirements when it considered and voted to approve an increase in Council remuneration behind closed doors.
Date: 05-28-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that London councillors did not violate the Municipal Act when they met in camera to discuss the "Occupy London" protest last November.
Date: 03-19-2012
 
The Ontario Ombudsman cautions City of Hamilton councillors they were on thin ice - but finds their breakfast with the Edmonton Oilers' president and local hockey coach didn't break the open meeting law.
Date: 02-22-2012
 
The Ontario Ombudsman reviewed several complaints alleging that improper closed meetings had occurred in Clarence-Rockland between November 2010 and June 2011.
Date: 02-15-2012
 
The Ombudsman found that the City of Hamilton held two improperly closed sessions on June 27, 2011, during which the dissolution of the Board of Directors of Hamilton Entertainment Convention Facilities Inc., as well as a grant request from McMaster University, were discussed.
Date: 01-11-2012
 
The Ombudsman determined that a meeting arranged by municipal staff to allow community members to discuss concerns about a sewage expansion project with the consulting firm leading the project was not subject to the open meeting rules, as it did not involve the exercise of council's authority or laying the groundwork for future council decision making.
Date: 01-09-2012
 
The Ombudsman confirmed that the council for the Town of Amherstburg repeatedly contravened the Municipal Act and its own procedure by-law.
Date: 01-06-2012
 
Investigation into the Ministry of the Attorney General’s implementation of recommendations concerning reform of the Special Investigations Unit.
Date: 12-14-2011
 
Our Office found that the Township of Larder Lake held an emergency meeting on September 1, 2011, without following the necessary procedural requirements, including providing notice to the public and passing a resolution to proceed in camera. We also noted that the Township's procedural by-law did not provide for notice to the public of special and emergency meetings.
Date: 12-13-2011
 
Our Office found that members of council of the Municipality of Grey Highlands did not contravene the open meeting provisions when they had lunch with staff from a developer of commercial wind turbines.
Date: 09-29-2011
 
Our Office reviewed a complaint that notice of a Minor Variance Committee meeting was not provided. We found that, although notice of this particular meeting was provided, the Committee did not have its own procedure by-law. Because the Committee is a local board for the purpose of the open meeting provisions, it is required to pass its own procedure by-law, which provides for notice of meetings.
Date: 09-19-2011
 
Our Office found that Howick Township Council contravened the open meeting requirements when it met behind closed doors to discuss changes to a proposed agreement between the Township and the local Agricultural Society.
Date: 08-09-2011
 
The Ombudsman reviewed meetings held by Council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula between January and March 2011, and found several violations of the open meeting provisions.
Date: 08-02-2011
 
Our Office found that Council for the Township of Georgian Bay contravened the open meeting requirements when it met with a local association representing the interests of cottagers.
Date: 07-29-2011
 

Ombudsman's Message: The future of government is open

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin called on the government of Ontario to embrace the worldwide trend toward open government, noting that many of his investigations of government organizations revealed a lack of transparency and accountability to Ontarians.
Date: 06-21-2011
 
The Ombudsman found that the Town of Amherstburg improperly held a vote during an emergency closed meeting in February 2011 regarding rescinding naming rights for a local recreation complex from a convicted sex offender.
Date: 03-17-2011
 
The Ombudsman found that Sault Ste. Marie’s Agenda Setting Review Committee, comprised of three council members and two municipal employees, was obligated to comply with the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act.
Date: 02-22-2011
 
The Ombudsman found that two informal gatherings of newly-elected councillors for the Town of Kearney did not violate the Municipal Act, as the councillors had not yet been sworn in and there was therefore no quorum of the current council present. However, these gatherings involved discussions of future council business and were therefore inconsistent with the principles of transparency and openness underlying the open meeting requirements.
Date: 01-25-2011
 
The Ombudsman determined that the Town of Mattawa’s Ad Hoc Heritage Committee held a series of improperly closed meetings.
Date: 01-11-2011
 
Investigation into the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ conduct in relation to Ontario Regulation 233/10 under the Public Works Protection Act.
Date: 12-07-2010
 
Ombudsman finds the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN closed several meetings to the public for the purposes of “education” illegal.
Date: 08-10-2010
 
The Ombudsman determined that the council of the Town of South Bruce discussed a topic in closed session in September 2009 that was not properly identified in the resolution authorizing the meeting. The investigation also determined that unhealthy tensions existed at that time on council that contributed to its failure to comply with the open meetings law.
Date: 07-07-2010
 

Ombudsman's Message: A strong foundation for better governance

As Ontarians brace for a new round of belt-tightening initiatives targeted at deficit elimination, the Ombudsman’s role becomes all the more critical. The public, the Legislative Assembly and government administrators need to have confidence that there is an impartial, fair and unbiased overseer available to listen to all sides, investigate thoroughly, and provide balanced advice and guidance.
Date: 06-15-2010
 
Ministry decision to restrict cancer drug "verges on cruelty" - Ombudsman finds cap on Avastin funding unreasonable and wrong.
Date: 09-30-2009
 
Ontario Ombudsman urges stricter controls on colleges: Cambrian college left students unqualified; Ministry "abdicated responsibility"
Date: 08-25-2009
 
Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today urged the province's Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to get tougher on unscrupulous private career colleges.
Date: 07-14-2009
 

Ombudsman’s Message: Championing value in hard times

Ontarians, like everyone else, have been greatly affected by the global recession this past year. Just as individuals and businesses are coping with job losses and financial stress, our governments are grappling with increased demand for services and deficit budgeting.
Date: 06-23-2009
 
The Ombudsman found Baldwin Township council contravened the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act in July 2008 and recommended several changes to its practices and procedure by-law.
Date: 05-23-2009
 
Investigation into the City of Oshawa, Development Services Committee special meeting of May 22, 2008.
Date: 04-29-2009
 
Investigation into the City of Oshawa's apparent failure to co-operate.
Date: 04-27-2009
 
The Ombudsman found an Oshawa council committee improperly met behind closed doors in May 2008 in an “education and training” session with representatives of a recycling company that had been the subject of odour complaints.
Date: 04-23-2009
 
The Ombudsman found that the Township of Enniskillen council considered a land acquisition in closed session, which is permitted, but the resolution authorizing the closed meeting was vague and other topics were discussed that could not legally be dealt with in a closed meeting.
Date: 04-03-2009
 
The Ombudsman found that Nipissing Township council improperly held a closed meeting on April 25, 2008.
Date: 02-06-2009
 
Investigation into the Special Investigations Unit's operational effectiveness and credibility.
Date: 09-30-2008
 
Investigation into Legal Aid Ontario’s role in the funding of the criminal defence of Richard Wills.
Date: 06-26-2008
 

Ombudsman’s Message: Shining the light

Once again this year, this Office’s efforts to expose government to the light of scrutiny have shown great success. We have called provincial officials to account for their conduct and worked with them to improve the service they offer to millions of Ontarians.
Date: 06-17-2008
 
Investigation into how the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services represents its relationship with Tarion Warranty Corp. to the public.
Date: 06-03-2008
 
The Ombudsman warned Sudbury councillors that their closed-door meeting regarding the city’s Elton John concert ticket scandal was close to the legal line.
Date: 04-25-2008
 
On April 21, 2008, my Office received a complaint about a closed meeting held by the council of the Township of Emo on April 8, 2008. The complainant alleged that after the adjournment of the regular meeting of council on that date, council held an unauthorized in-camera meeting with members of the Rainy River District Regional Abattoir Inc. (Abattoir Inc.) to discuss matters related to the abattoir project planned for the Township.
Date: 04-08-2008
 
The Ombudsman found that Fort Erie council did nothing wrong when it met behind closed doors on January 7, 2008 for an “education and training session.” However, in the interest of furthering transparency in local government, the Ombudsman recommended that council give more detail about such meetings in advance.
Date: 02-06-2008
 

Ombudsman’s Message: Few left untouched

Few people in Ontario have been left untouched by this Office’s work. We have helped thousands of individuals – more than 20,200 in the past fiscal year alone – navigate through government red tape and find solutions to their problems.
Date: 06-27-2007
 
Investigation into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s protection of the public from fraud and theft.
Date: 03-26-2007
 
Investigation into the treatment of victims by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Date: 02-27-2007
 
Investigation into the complaint of the Family Responsibility Office's ineffective enforcement using a writ of seizure and sale.
Date: 08-09-2006
 

Ombudsman's Message: Humanizing government

This has been a remarkable year, rich with accomplishment. We have ferreted out systemic problems that caused frustration – even tragedy – for some, and we have helped many others who had problems of their own in dealing with government.
Date: 06-22-2006
 
Investigation into unreasonable delay at the Ministry of Community and Social Services' Ontario Disability Support Program's Disability Adjudication Unit.
Date: 05-31-2006
 
Investigation into the transparency of the property assessment process and the integrity and efficiency of decision-making at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.
Date: 03-28-2006
 
Investigation into whether the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has failed to properly administer newborn screening in Ontario.
Date: 09-27-2005
 
Investigation into the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's refusal to fund the drug Cystagon for treatment of Batten's Disease.
Date: 09-01-2005
 
The year 2004-2005 was one of transition for Ombudsman Ontario, as Ontario’s fifth Ombudsman, Clare Lewis, Q.C., served the final year of his term, retiring at the end of January 2005.
Date: 06-29-2005
 
Investigation into parents of children with special needs being forced to relinquish custody of their children to obtain necessary residential care.
Date: 05-20-2005