239(2)(a) Security of the property of the municipality

KEY SUMMARIES

Town of Grimsby

November 14, 201614 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Grimsby to discuss a municipally-controlled corporation, Niagara Power Inc. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. Council discussed whether to obtain a valuation of a municipally-owned corporation. The Ombudsman found that the exception applies to discussions about protecting municipally-owned corporeal and incorporeal property from loss or damage. The discussion about valuation did not fit within the exception for the security of the property of the municipality since there was no apparent threat to the municipally-controlled corporation.

Town of Deep River

October 03, 201703 October 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Deep River to discuss a police services consultation plan. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. The municipality believed that the discussion about police services implicated safety and security throughout the town. The Ombudsman found that the security of the property exception applies to protecting municipal property from physical loss or damage, and the protection of public safety in relation to that property. In this case, the in camera discussion did not deal with potential threats, loss or damage to municipal property. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.

FILTER BY:

Town of Amherstburg

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg relying on the security of the property exception to discuss policing levels in the municipality. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not include potential threats, or loss or damage to municipal property. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.

Town of Amherstburg

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by the Joint Police Advisory Committee for the Town of Amherstburg relying on the security of the property exception to discuss draft request for proposals for police services and the viability of a proposal. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not include potential threats, or loss or damage to municipal property. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.

Town of Deep River

October 03, 201703 October 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Deep River to discuss a police services consultation plan. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. The municipality believed that the discussion about police services implicated safety and security throughout the town. The Ombudsman found that the security of the property exception applies to protecting municipal property from physical loss or damage, and the protection of public safety in relation to that property. In this case, the in camera discussion did not deal with potential threats, loss or damage to municipal property. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.

Town of Grimsby

November 14, 201614 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Grimsby to discuss a municipally-controlled corporation, Niagara Power Inc. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. Council discussed whether to obtain a valuation of a municipally-owned corporation. The Ombudsman found that the exception applies to discussions about protecting municipally-owned corporeal and incorporeal property from loss or damage. The discussion about valuation did not fit within the exception for the security of the property of the municipality since there was no apparent threat to the municipally-controlled corporation.

Municipality of St.-Charles

February 04, 201604 February 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of St.-Charles to discuss a draft financial report from its auditors. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. The auditors gave a presentation to council about the municipality’s finances. The Ombudsman found that there may be circumstances when a discussion about a municipality’s finances fits within the security of the property exception. For example, cases of fraud or theft of municipal property, or threats. However, the auditor’s presentation contained information about the municipality’s finances, but did not include a discussion of any potential loss or damage to that property. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.

City of Port Colborne

November 19, 201519 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Port Colborne to discuss disposing of its shares in a shared services provider. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. Council cited the exception because the municipality’s bargaining position might have been affected if details of the discussion were made public. The security of the property exception is narrowly construed. The Ombudsman found that the fact that any discussion in open session may have decreased the value of the shares was insufficient to bring the matter within the security of the property exception.

Village of Burk's Falls

October 28, 201528 October 2015
The Ombudsman reviewed a joint closed meeting held by council for the Village of Burk's Falls and council for Armour Township to discuss possible amalgamation of the two municipalities. Armour Township relied on the security of the property exception to go into closed session because it believed that the amalgamation might affect the township's assets. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception because the discussion did not relate to any specific property owned by the municipalities, either corporeal or incorporeal, and the protection of that property.

Armour Township and Village of Burk's Falls

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a joint closed meeting held by council for the Village of Burk’s Falls and council for Armour Township to discuss possible amalgamation of the two municipalities. Armour Township relied on the security of the property exception to go into closed session because it believed that the amalgamation might affect the township’s assets. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception because the discussion did not relate to any specific property owned by the municipalities, either corporeal or incorporeal, and the protection of that property.

City of Welland

November 18, 201418 November 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland to discuss a marketing plan prepared by an economic development consultant. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. Council cited the exception because it wanted to protect its competitive advantage over neighbouring municipalities in attracting new business. The Ombudsman found that while the municipality has a property interest in its marketing plan, the subject matter of the closed session discussion was not protecting the marketing plan from loss or damage. Rather, the discussion involved sharing the marketing plan itself with council. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.

City of Welland

November 18, 201418 November 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland to discuss whether the municipality should support a bid by a local corporation to host the 2016 Pan American canoe sprint championships. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. Council cited the exception because it believed the chance of a successful bid would be diminished if detailed information about the bid was made public. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception because council did not discuss preventing loss or damage to the bid. Although council had a desire to maintain confidentiality to protect the interests of the city, section 239(2)(a) of the Municipal Act, 2001 does not apply to a matter that is only considered sensitive or confidential, or against the municipality’s interests to discuss publicly.

Township of Russell

August 25, 201425 August 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss financial interests, municipal growth, future planning, and negotiation strategy. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussions did not come within section 239(2)(a) of the Municipal Act, 2001 as the discussion did not relate to preventing the loss or damage of municipal property or to the protection of public safety relating to municipal property.

Township of Morris-Turnberry

September 10, 201210 September 2012
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Morris-Turnberry. Council for the township met in closed session to discuss firefighting options for the municipality. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. The Ombudsman noted that the security of the property exception is narrowly construed. Council’s discussion did not relate to any specific concerns about the security of municipal property. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.

City of Niagara Falls

May 29, 201229 May 2012

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls. Council met in closed session to discuss security concerns related to a member of the public. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. The municipality’s solicitor was also present during the discussion. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception since council’s discussion did not involve security of the municipality’s property. The Ombudsman noted that a more appropriate exception would have been “personal matters about an identifiable individual” or “advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege.”