239(2)(b) Personal matters about an identifiable individual

KEY SUMMARIES

Township of Lanark Highlands

January 04, 201804 January 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Lanark Highlands to discuss involvement of a council member in the financial administration of the township. The meeting was closed using the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that generally, discussions of a council member’s actions in the course of their duties are considered to be of a professional nature. However, the in camera discussion about the council member touched upon information that was speculative and also involved scrutiny of the councillor’s conduct that went beyond their official capacity as a member of council. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Timmins

May 09, 201709 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Timmins to discuss an open procurement project. During the meeting, council discussed publicly available information about the proprietors of one of the bidding companies, including their business history, and expressed opinions on whether or not the company was suitable for the project based on that history. The Ombudsman found that the discussion was limited to information that was publicly available and did not reveal any personal information. Although it was not cited by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Alfred and Plantagenet

May 10, 201710 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet. Council closed a meeting to discuss matters under, among other exceptions, the personal matters exception. During the closed session, council added an item to the in camera agenda with respect to a consulting firm’s bid to conduct an organizational study of the municipality. The individuals working at the firm and their qualifications were identified in the proposal documents. However, the Ombudsman found that the personal matters exception did not apply in the circumstances because the discussion was in the context of a proposed professional relationship with the township.

Township of Russell

November 02, 201502 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss a staff member who was a candidate for the position of deputy clerk. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. When council resumed the open session, it appointed the individual to the position of deputy clerk. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception since it identified the candidate by name and covered the individual’s employment history, job performance, and salary information.

FILTER BY:

Municipality of The Nation

August 15, 201915 August 2019

The Ombudsman found that council for the Municipality of The Nation contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it discussed in closed session the subject of changes to councillor remuneration. The Ombudsman found this discussion did not fall within the exception for personal matters that was cited for closing the meeting.

Municipality of The Nation

August 15, 201915 August 2019

The Ombudsman found that council for the Municipality of The Nation violated the Municipal Act, 2001 on January 14, 2019, when it discussed in closed session the subject of economic development activities, as this discussion did not fall within the “personal matters” exception that was cited for closing the meeting.

Township of Springwater

July 12, 201912 July 2019

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding a closed meeting held on April 29, 2019. Council for the Township of Springwater closed the meeting to the public to discuss a legal letter. The complaint alleged that council’s discussion during that closed session did not fit within the closed meeting exception for litigation or potential litigation found in the Municipal Act, 2001. The Office’s review determined that council considered litigation or potential litigation against a named individual during the closed session. The review also determined that council discussed personal matters about an identifiable individual, another exception in the Act.

Township of Wollaston

May 24, 201924 May 2019

When council for Wollaston Township discussed in camera the job performance of an individual employee, it fit within the exception for personal matters, as well as the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations. The same was true of council’s discussion about the past job performance of a prospective consultant.

City of Owen Sound (Downtown Improvement Area)

October 02, 201802 October 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the board of directors for the Owen Sound Downtown Improvement Area to discuss its proposed response to an open letter regarding the board’s meeting practices, relying on the personal matters exception. While in closed session, the members of the board did discuss some personal opinions about the author of the open letter, however the Ombudsman found that this wasn’t the focus of the discussion. Rather, the board primarily discussed how it should respond to the issues raised in the open letter. The Ombudsman found that this discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

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 personal matters exception to discuss the conduct of various identifiable individuals. The discussion included allegations that these individuals acted improperly. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of The North Shore

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of The North Shore relying on the personal matters exception to discuss payment of remuneration for volunteer firefighters. During the closed session, council identified specific firefighters by name and discussed whether they had satisfied their employment conditions. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of The North Shore

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of The North Shore relying on the personal matters exception to discuss a communications protocol between municipal staff and the fire department. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not include any personal information. Accordingly, the discussion did not fit into the personal matters exception.

Township of The North Shore

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of The North Shore relying on the personal matters exception to discuss a vacant council seat. During the closed session, council discussed whether to fill the vacancy by appointment or by by-election, and identifiable individuals who could fill the vacancy. The discussion about identifiable individuals involved personal information regarding the individuals’ qualifications and experience. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion about how to fill the council vacancy did not fit within the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that the discussion involving personal information about the identifiable individuals fit within the personal matters exception. However, the Ombudsman noted that in the interests of transparency, discussions relating to filling a council vacancy should be held in open session.

Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula

May 28, 201828 May 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting of council for the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss an application made under the Land Titles Act for a property located within the municipality. During the meeting, council reviewed a cover letter for the application which included the property identification number, and a draft plan of reference showing the property’s location, dimensions and boundaries. The information did not include the property owner’s name. The Ombudsman found that this type of information is not inherently personal and does not constitute personal information about the property owner. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Petrolia

May 22, 201822 May 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by council for the Town of Petrolia. The Ombudsman found that the municipality was permitted to discuss unproven allegations regarding the conduct of a member of council in camera pursuant to the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

Township of Tehkummah

April 18, 201818 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of council for the Township of Tehkummah, relying on the personal matters exception to discuss an ongoing third-party workplace investigation relating to an employee. During the discussion, council deliberated about whether the best course of action would be to suspend the staff member pending the completion of the workplace investigation. The Ombudsman found that a discussion to change employment status or job performance of an individual staff member constitutes personal information. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the personal matters exceptions.

Township of North Huron

January 09, 201809 January 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of North Huron to discuss fire department personnel issues. While in closed session, council discussed a legal opinion related to the fire department personnel. After council discussed this legal advice, approximately 40 firefighters entered the closed session and, through two representatives, spoke with council about various shared concerns. These concerns included comments about identified individuals and the department’s work conditions. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception because the conduct discussed went beyond the employees’ professional role.

Township of Lanark Highlands

January 04, 201804 January 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Lanark Highlands to discuss involvement of a council member in the financial administration of the township. The meeting was closed using the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that generally, discussions of a council member’s actions in the course of their duties are considered to be of a professional nature. However, the in camera discussion about the council member touched upon information that was speculative and also involved scrutiny of the councillor’s conduct that went beyond their official capacity as a member of council. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Cornwall

December 05, 201705 December 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Cornwall that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the Cornwall Regional Airport. During the discussion, council reviewed the performance and conduct of commission members and another individual. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion went beyond the individuals’ professional roles, and if that information were to be disclosed, it would reveal something of a personal nature about the individuals. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Welland

November 24, 201724 November 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland that relied on the personal matters exception to appoint a new member of council. The in camera discussion did not include any personal information about the candidates, rather the discussion focused on the voting procedure for selecting a candidate. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Georgina

November 23, 201723 November 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Georgina to discuss an organizational review of certain departments within the municipality’s administration as part of a larger service delivery review. The meeting was closed using the personal matters exception. While in camera, council discussed the performance of particular employees in relation to the restructuring options contained in a staff report. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters 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 personal matters exception. The municipality relied on this exception because a section of a former police chief’s employment contract was discussed and police service employees would be identifiable in the community even if they were not named. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not involve any named individuals, and employees were not discussed in a personal capacity. Therefore, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

August 09, 201709 August 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake to discuss a motion to rescind a previous resolution regarding the recruitment of a chief administrative officer (CAO). The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. During the closed session council discussed several individuals in the context of their employment, however, the discussion also included information about these employees that went beyond their professional roles. During the discussion council also discussed the desired qualities of a CAO. The Ombudsman found that while normally, general discussion of the qualities of a CAO would not fall within the personal matters exception, in this case it would not be reasonable for council to parse its discussion. Therefore, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Norfolk County

July 05, 201705 July 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the County of Norfolk to receive a deputation from representatives of the Port Dover Community Health Centre Board. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. The deputation related to the board’s operations and included a request that the county release an installment of a monetary grant. The municipality highlighted that the deputation contained information that could affect the personal lives of individual members of the board. The Ombudsman acknowledged that the board was composed of volunteers, however, the deputation contained information that was professional in nature and related to the business of the board. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Municipality of St.-Charles

June 30, 201730 June 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the General Government Committee for the Municipality of St.-Charles to discuss allegations of credit card abuse by municipal employees. The meeting was closed citing the personal matters exception. During the discussion, the committee discussed several individuals in the context of their employment or professional relationship to the municipality. However, the discussion also included details of the conduct of individuals that went beyond their professional roles, which if disclosed would reveal something of a personal nature about them. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception. During the investigation, it was alleged that the credit card abuse allegations should not be discussed in private because information about the allegations had previously been made public at a council meeting. The Ombudsman noted that the majority of the closed meeting exceptions are discretionary and in the interest of openness and transparency, municipalities should carefully consider whether the public might be better served by discussing the matter openly. However, in this case, the committee discussed information that had not been previously discussed in public and is not the type of information that would typically be debated in open session.

Township of Alfred and Plantagenet

May 10, 201710 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet. Council closed a meeting to discuss matters under, among other exceptions, the personal matters exception. During the closed session, council added an item to the in camera agenda with respect to a consulting firm’s bid to conduct an organizational study of the municipality. The individuals working at the firm and their qualifications were identified in the proposal documents. However, the Ombudsman found that the personal matters exception did not apply in the circumstances because the discussion was in the context of a proposed professional relationship with the township.

City of Timmins

May 09, 201709 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Timmins to discuss an open procurement project. During the meeting, council discussed publicly available information about the proprietors of one of the bidding companies, including their business history, and expressed opinions on whether or not the company was suitable for the project based on that history. The Ombudsman found that the discussion was limited to information that was publicly available and did not reveal any personal information. Although it was not cited by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Russell

May 03, 201703 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss the naming rights for a new sports facility. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. While the municipality believed that the information discussed related to personality conflicts involving members of the community, the discussion mainly pertained to fundraising, naming rights and advertising for the sports facility. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not include personal information and noted that a municipal council cannot automatically shield itself from open discussion on a full report merely because the report contains relatively minor references to bona fide personal matters. Accordingly, the discussion did not fit within the closed meeting exception.

Town of Fort Erie (Ridgeway BIA)

April 03, 201703 April 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Board of Management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area in the Town of Fort Erie. The board met in camera to discuss the conduct of an employee of the board. The board did not cite a closed meeting exception. The Ombudsman found that while the board did not rely on the personal matters exception, the discussion fit within that exception.

City of London

February 17, 201717 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by council for the City of London to discuss the appointment of an integrity commissioner. Council relied on the personal matters exception. During the discussion, council discussed the education, employment history and qualifications of a potential appointee for the integrity commissioner position. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Municipality of Temagami

February 09, 201709 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Temagami to discuss an allegation that the mayor had contravened the municipality’s code of conduct. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. During the discussion, council considered whether enough information had been received to proceed with a code of conduct complaint against the mayor. The Ombudsman found that it was not clear whether the mayor was acting in a professional or personal capacity during the incident that gave rise to the code of conduct complaint, and council was considering an unproven allegation against the mayor. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Laird

January 24, 201724 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Laird Fairgrounds Management Board to discuss an incident at a horse arena that involved township employees, members of the board, and members of the public. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The board’s discussion identified individuals by name and referred to allegations about conduct outside the scope of the individuals’ official roles. The Ombudsman found that the board referenced information in camera that had been discussed during the open portion of the meeting, but this was incidental to the main discussion, which focused on personal information.

Township of Laird

January 24, 201724 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Laird Fairgrounds Management Board for the Township of Laird to discuss an incident at a horse arena that involved township employees, members of the board and members of the public. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The board’s discussion identified individuals by name and referred to allegations about conduct outside the scope of the individuals’ official roles. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception since it related to personal information about identifiable individuals.

City of Timmins

January 23, 201723 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Timmins, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the upcoming retirement of the chief administrative officer (CAO). Council discussed the CAO’s salary and the recruitment process to hire a new CAO. There were no candidates identified or discussed during the meeting. The Ombudsman found that general consideration of a hiring process is not personal information and does not fit within the personal matters exception unless the discussion is incidental or brief. Therefore, council’s discussion about the recruitment process did not fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Greater Sudbury

January 20, 201720 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed three closed meetings held by council for the City of Greater Sudbury to discuss an investigation regarding a contract between the city and a transit ticket kiosk. The closed meetings relied on the personal matters exception. During the discussion, council received a third party investigation report which included information about employee conduct. The Ombudsman found that council’s scrutiny of employee conduct was personal in nature. Therefore, the discussions fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands

September 08, 201608 September 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands to discuss the assignment of the Chief Administrative Officer’s (CAO) duties. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The discussion focused on the specific skills and work experience of identified employees who were being considered for the interim CAO role. There was a brief mention of the CAO hiring process which was incidental to the main discussion. The Ombudsman found that the meeting fit within the personal matters exception because council discussed the qualification of identifiable individuals. The Ombudsman found that general consideration of the CAO hiring process would not have fit within this exception, however any such discussions were brief and incidental to the main discussion.

Norfolk County

May 10, 201610 May 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council-in-committee for the County of Norfolk to discuss the extension of legal services contracts. The meeting was closed using the personal matters exception. The discussion included scrutiny of the performance, responsiveness and expertise of individual lawyers. However, the majority of the discussion related to the fee structure proposed by each firm. The Ombudsman found that the portion of the committee’s discussion that related to personal information about the lawyers fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Russell

April 19, 201619 April 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell that relied on the closed matters exception to discuss councillor remuneration and staff remuneration. Council’s discussion about employee compensation involved a discussion about systematic changes to the municipality’s salary grid and changes to the salary of identified employees. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion about employee compensation involved personal information about identifiable individuals and therefore, this portion of council’s discussion fit within the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that discussion of councillor remuneration did not fit within the personal matters exception.

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 audit reports and individual staff performance. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that the audit reports contained municipal financial information and its findings did not reveal personal information about staff members. The fact that the municipality has a small staff and personal information about individual employees could be inferred from the auditor’s findings does not bring the discussion within the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion about individual employee conduct and performance did fit within the personal matters exception because staff members were identified by name. The Ombudsman found that council could have been parsed and the audit report could have been considered in open session, separate from the employee performance matters, because the two topics were distinct.

Village of Casselman

January 29, 201629 January 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Village of Casselman to discuss a municipal organizational chart, individual staff positions, and staff restructuring. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that the discussion about salary ranges for management positions on its own did not fit within the exception; however, in this case the discussion of salary ranges was related to the broader discussion of individual staff positions. Therefore, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Russell

January 05, 201605 January 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss a proposed list of heritage designation properties in closed session, which relied on the personal matters exception. The report contained details about each property including the name of the building, its street address, the year the building was built, a description of the building’s heritage attributes, and a picture. For a subset of the properties, the report also contained details regarding former owners. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception because the discussion was general in nature and did not include personal information like the identity of current property owners.

Township of Russell

January 05, 201605 January 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss a property tax reimbursement for a resident. Council reviewed a staff report that included the name of the property owner, the property tax roll number, and the amount of property tax refund. The report also included information about the circumstances that led to the property tax refund. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Russell

January 05, 201605 January 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss a proposed business plan for installing services in a local commercial and industrial area in the municipality. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. Council reviewed a staff report that included information about local businesses in the area including company name and legal identity, the proprietor, address, the size of the lot, and the cost of the services improvement for the property. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion and the report did not reveal personal information about individual property owners and any individuals identified by name used the land for a business purpose. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of McKellar

December 04, 201504 December 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Economic Development Committee for the Township of McKellar to discuss comments about the committee made by two councillors and two members of the public. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The committee’s discussion focused on the conduct and comments of the councillors, the two members of the public, and ways the committee could respond to that conduct.

The Ombudsman found that the discussion about the conduct of the two members of the public fit within the personal matters exception. Normally, the discussion about the conduct of the two councillors would not fit within the exception, as it related to the individuals’ conduct in their official roles as councillors. However, the Ombudsman found that it is unrealistic to expect the committee to have parsed the discussion about the members of the public from that of the councillors when the two discussion topics were directly related.

Township of McKellar

December 04, 201504 December 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Economic Development Committee for the Township of McKellar to discuss the appointment of a member of the public to the committee. The meeting was closed citing the personal matters exception. The committee discussed the conduct of the member of the public. The committee also discussed the implications, both negative and positive, of accepting the application. The Ombudsman found that by discussing the individual’s conduct, the committee revealed inherently personal information about the individual. 

Township of West Lincoln

November 23, 201523 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Administration/Finance/Fire Committee for the Township of West Lincoln to discuss by-law enforcement. The closed meeting relied on the personal matters exception. During the discussion, the committee identified properties where fill was being dumped contrary to a site alteration by-law. The discussion did not identify any individuals by name. The Ombudsman found that the municipal locations and estimated market values of certain properties did not constitute personal information about an individual property owner. 

Town of Amherstburg

November 20, 201520 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss details of complaints by named municipal staff against other staff members.  The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. The complaints included allegations of harassment and health and safety concerns. The Ombudsman found that the information discussed went beyond the staff members’ professional duties and included personal concerns about their work environment. Therefore, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception. 

Town of Amherstburg

November 20, 201520 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss an external investigator’s report into health and safety concerns raised by municipal employees. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. Council discussed the conduct of a staff member and discussed how to address the issues raised in the report. During the discussion, the external investigator provided general information about health and safety requirements, but this advice was interspersed with comments about specific individual employees. The Ombudsman found that it was unrealistic to expect council to parse this portion of the discussion to exclude references to related or background information. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters 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 that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss an update on the municipality’s insurance program. The discussion included specific ongoing claims against the municipality in an illustrative matter without personal identifiers. This did not form a substantial part of the discussion. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

November 09, 201509 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss committee members’ roles and behaviour. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussions about the volunteer committee members’ conduct were personal in nature and therefore fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

November 09, 201509 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake to discuss the mayor’s conduct and the roles and responsibilities of the mayor. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that a discussion of a committee or council member may qualify as personal where it involves the evaluation of a person’s conduct or performance. The Ombudsman found that although parts of council’s discussion qualified as personal information, council’s discussion about the mayor’s official conduct was not covered by the personal matters exception. However, the Ombudsman found that parsing the closed meeting discussion would not be realistic, given the connection between the parts of the discussion that did not fall within the exception and those that did.

Township of Russell

November 02, 201502 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss a staff member who was a candidate for the position of deputy clerk. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. When council resumed the open session, it appointed the individual to the position of deputy clerk. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception since it identified the candidate by name and covered the individual’s employment history, job performance, and salary information.

Village of Burk's Falls and Armour Township

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 which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss a number of items including possible amalgamation of the two municipalities. The names of business owners considering developments in the area were discussed.  The Ombudsman found that the discussion about individual business owners was strictly in a professional context, which did not reveal anything of a personal nature. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

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 which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss a number of items including possible amalgamation of the two municipalities. The names of business owners considering developments in the area were discussed.  The Ombudsman found that the discussion about individual business owners was strictly in a professional context, which did not reveal anything of a personal nature. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Armour Township and Village of Burk's Falls

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Village of Burk’s falls to discuss an appointment to a shared social services board. Council decided to appoint a councillor from Armour Township to the position. The municipality discussed the appointment under the personal matters exception and considered the candidate’s résumé. In many instances, where a council is considering appointments, personal information about individual applicants is discussed. The discussion did not include personal information about the councillor since his qualifications were public knowledge. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Village of Burk's Falls and Armour Township

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Village of Burk’s falls to discuss an appointment to a shared social services board. Council decided to appoint a councillor from Armour Township to the position. The municipality discussed the appointment under the personal matters exception and considered the candidate’s résumé. In many instances, where a council is considering appointments, personal information about individual applicants is discussed. The discussion did not include personal information about the councillor since his qualifications were public knowledge. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of South Bruce Peninsula

October 06, 201506 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the performance and conduct of a staff member. Typically, the personal matters exception applies to discussions about an individual in his or her personal capacity, rather than his or her professional, business, or official capacity. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion related to the individual’s conduct and therefore fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Woolwich

August 10, 201510 August 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Woolwich that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss volunteer recreation associations. Council discussed entering into affiliation service agreements with each recreation association that operated parks and facilities on behalf of the municipality. The Ombudsman found that the discussion pertained to the associations in general, rather than individual volunteers. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Woolwich

August 10, 201510 August 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Woolwich that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss appointments to two committees. The Ombudsman found that the discussion involved personal information about past members of the committees as well as current applicants. Therefore, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception. 

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss a request from a property owner for an extension to complete construction. If the owner failed to finish construction within the allotted time, the municipality could repurchase the property at 80% of the purchase price. The Ombudsman found that council’s decision would have a significant effect on an identifiable individual, and therefore, council’s discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by council for the City of Elliot Lake, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the recruitment of a new chief administrative officer (CAO). The discussions involved changes to the current CAO’s contract and extending the service of the current CAO. The Ombudsman found that the information discussed by council during the meetings related to specific terms of an identified employee’s contract, including salary. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the recruitment of a new chief administrative officer (CAO). During the closed meeting, council discussed an identifiable individual who had submitted an application for the CAO position. The discussion involved the contents of the application, and included expressing opinions about the individual’s qualifications. The discussion also involved third-party information that was included in the application. The Ombudsman found that the discussion involved personal information about the applicant and third-party information. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Amherstburg

April 13, 201513 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the appointment of an individual as treasurer. The discussion involved a review of a résumé, employment history, and qualifications of an identifiable individual who was a candidate for the position. Councillors also expressed opinions about the individual’s suitability for the position. The Ombudsman found that the discussions were personal in nature and fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Amherstburg

April 13, 201513 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss bank-signing authorities for the municipality. The municipality suggested that the general tone of the meeting was one of distrust of municipal staff and, accordingly, it rendered the discussion personal in nature. The Ombudsman found that the general tone or concern that a discussion might be sensitive in nature is not sufficient to bring the discussion within the personal matters exception. Therefore, council’s discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Bracebridge

March 18, 201518 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the General Committee for the Town of Bracebridge that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss committee appointments. The committee reviewed applications, including resumes, for the committee positions. While information about an individual in their professional capacity will usually not be considered personal information, the Ombudsman noted that in this case the applications included personal information, including the candidate’s work history and education. The General Committee members also provided their opinions on each applicant’s suitability for the positions while in camera. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Niagara Falls

March 05, 201505 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls to discuss staff conduct related to a future university campus located in the downtown area of the municipality. The discussion also included questions about whether the mayor and certain staff members had complied with their professional obligations. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion did not include topics that were inherently personal in nature. Rather, questions about staff conduct were general in nature or about individuals in their professional capacities. Therefore, council’s discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Municipality of South Huron

March 02, 201502 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of South Huron that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss a number of staffing issues. The discussion included issues of staff performance reviews, reorganization, staff conduct, discipline, and the salaries of specific employees. The Ombudsman found that these matters are considered personal information for the purposes of the Municipal Act, 2001 and therefore they fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Cochrane

January 12, 201512 January 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Cochrane, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss a contract with a specific member of the public. In addition to professional information, council’s discussion included information about the individual’s credibility and conduct. Although the exception does not apply to professional or business information about an individual, information will be considered personal information where an individual’s conduct is scrutinized. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Amherstburg

December 15, 201415 December 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg, which relied o the closed meeting exception to discuss the selection process for a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Council discussed the qualifications of an identifiable candidate and expressed opinions about the individual. Council also discussed the conduct of a member of the public who had emailed council expressing opinions about a candidate for the CAO position. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Baldwin

December 09, 201409 December 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Baldwin to discuss candidates for the job of municipal works foreman. Council discussed the applications, résumés, work histories, and the possibility of extending an offer to one of the candidates. Individual councillors expressed opinions on which candidate would be best suited for the job and on the candidates’ qualifications. Although the municipality did not rely upon it, the Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Municipality of Whitestone

November 18, 201418 November 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Whitestone to discuss an organizational review. The closed meeting relied on the personal matters exception. Council’s discussion included specific information about the performance of identifiable individual employees and the retirement of two employees. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the personal matters exception because it related to the performance of identifiable individual employees.

Township of Billings

October 08, 201408 October 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Billings to discuss candidates to fill a vacant council position. The closed meeting relied on the personal matters exception. During the closed session, council chose a candidate to fill the vacancy but did not discuss any personal information relating to the candidates. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

September 08, 201408 September 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake to discuss unproven allegations against a member of council. The Ombudsman noted that information about an individual in their professional capacity takes on a more personal nature if it relates to scrutiny of that person’s conduct. In this case, council was considering unproven allegations against a council member that had not been investigated or made public at the time. This portion of the discussions fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan

August 18, 201418 August 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for Township of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan to discuss a former employee. The closed meeting relied on the personal matters exception. Council members expressed personal opinions about the individual’s behaviour and discussed actions the municipality should take to address a particular issue. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Russell

August 08, 201408 August 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss municipal infrastructure projects. Council referred to contractors in their professional capacity during its discussion. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception because the discussion did not address anything of an inherently personal nature.

Township of Adelaide Metcalfe

June 27, 201427 June 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Adelaide Metcalfe that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss comments a councillor made about employee performance. The discussion included concerns expressed by identified staff members about the effect of the councillor’s comments. The Ombudsman found that general discussion about tensions between council and staff would not be appropriate for closed session discussions, however, since council discussed personal information about identifiable individuals who were members of the public and specific staff members, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Owen Sound

June 05, 201405 June 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Owen Sound that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss withdrawing a funding pledge to a local hospital for the purchase of an MRI machine. During the discussion, the mayor mentioned meeting with an identified individual from local health services. The Ombudsman found that a passing reference or general remark made about a meeting between a member of council and a member of the public in his or her professional capacity does not bring a discussion within the parameters of the personal matters exception.

Town of Midland

February 04, 201404 February 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Midland to discuss a council member’s request for indemnification for legal fees incurred as a police services board member. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception because the discussion related to the council member in his official capacity and much of the information was already known to the public. 

City of Timmins

November 14, 201314 November 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Timmins to consider a complaint against a resident with respect to a zoning by-law infraction. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. During the closed meeting, council received delegations from the complainant and a resident. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the personal matters exception because information was presented to council that involved an investigation or assessment of the performance or alleged improper conduct of the property owner. 

Town of Fort Erie

May 09, 201309 May 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Fort Erie that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss an alleged breach of the municipality’s code of conduct by the mayor. Council’s discussion related to public comments made by the mayor. The Ombudsman found that the mayor’s comments were made in the course of his official duties and in relation to municipal business. Council’s discussions did not pertain to the mayor in his personal capacity, but rather involved the mayor’s professional capacity. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception. 

City of Greater Sudbury

February 14, 201314 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Greater Sudbury, which relied on the personal matters exception, to discuss the contract and appointment of the auditor general. The Ombudsman found that information about the employment contract of an identified member of staff is personal information. Therefore, council’s discussion fit within the personal matters exception. 

City of Niagara Falls (Niagara District Airport Commission)

February 14, 201314 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission to discuss comments about the commission made by a local mayor. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. During the discussion, the commission considered how to respond to the mayor’s official comments. The Ombudsman found that the discussion of the mayor’s professional relationship with the commission does not qualify as personal information. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake (Niagara District Airport Commission)

February 14, 201314 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission to discuss comments about the commission made by a local mayor. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. During the discussion, the commission considered how to respond to the mayor’s official comments. The Ombudsman found that the discussion of the mayor’s professional relationship with the commission does not qualify as personal information. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

City of St. Catharines (Niagara District Airport Commission)

February 14, 201314 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission to discuss comments about the commission made by a local mayor. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. During the discussion, the commission considered how to respond to the mayor’s official comments. The Ombudsman found that the discussion of the mayor’s professional relationship with the commission does not qualify as personal information. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Municipality of Powassan

February 06, 201306 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Powassan. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception to discuss a staff report concerning the development of a local rental property by a resident. The name of the resident and the details of the rental property were included in the staff report. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion did not reveal any personal information about the individual that was not already public knowledge. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception. 

Municipality of Lambton Shores

January 28, 201328 January 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Lambton Shores to discuss the performance of an identifiable member of staff. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. The discussion included an examination of the employee’s job performance, as well as personal views and opinions expressed about this individual. The Ombudsman found that the information discussed qualified as personal information. Therefore, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Hearst

December 08, 201208 December 2012

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Hearst. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception to discuss applications for a vacant council seat. The discussion involved reviewing multiple candidates’ résumés, and their work and education history. The Ombudsman found that an individual’s employment and educational history is considered personal information. Therefore, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands

April 18, 201218 April 2012

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, which relied on the closed meeting exception to discuss a salary increase for council members. The Ombudsman found that the setting of the remuneration and expense policy for members of council is information about council members in their professional capacity, not personal information. Therefore, council’s discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception. 

City of Hamilton

December 28, 201128 December 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the General Issues Committee for the City of Hamilton to discuss the dissolution of the board of directors of a corporation. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. The committee’s discussions were general in nature and related to the board of directors as a whole. There was no information provided about the board members in their personal capacity. Therefore, council’s discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception. 

Town of Mattawa

January 11, 201111 January 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Mattawa, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the salary of a staff member. The Ombudsman found that an individual’s salary, as opposed to a salary range for a position, may qualify as personal information. Therefore, the discussion fit within the exception.