239(2)(d) Labour relations or employee negotiations

KEY SUMMARIES

Township of Russell

April 19, 201619 April 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss councillor compensation and employee compensation. Council’s discussion about staff compensation involved a discussion about systematic changes to the municipality’s salary grid. While the municipality did not rely on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception, the Ombudsman found that compensation matters relating to staff members fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that councillor remuneration matters do not fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception since council members are not municipal employees.

City of Welland

November 18, 201418 November 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland that relied on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception to discuss a shared services proposal with the public library. Council discussed staffing changes, workload, and the roles of particular employees. The labour relations or employee negotiations exception refers to the collective relationship between an employer and its employees. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

City of London

April 24, 201424 April 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee for the City of London to discuss the municipality’s fire services budget. The meeting was closed under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Committee’s discussion focused on confidential labour relations and other employment-related matters with respect to the fire services department. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

Township of Bonfield

October 30, 201330 October 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Personnel Committee for the Township of Bonfield that relied on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception to discuss specific municipal employees, their jobs and pay status. The Ombudsman found that the committee’s discussion fit within the cited exception.

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City of St. Catharines

February 14, 201914 February 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting that was held by council for the City of St. Catharines to discuss a proposed staff position, government relations adviser, under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. Council’s discussion focused on the role and nature of the proposed staff position, including the position’s general responsibilities and duties, salary, and contract length. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception because the discussion did not pertain to the relationship between the municipality and its employees or reference specific individuals who might be hired.

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 to discuss payment of remuneration for volunteer firefighters and conditions of employment for firefighters. The discussion related to the relationship between the municipality and its firefighters. Although not cited by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations 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 to discuss a communication protocol between municipal staff and the fire department. During the discussion, council considered the appointment of an individual firefighter as communications officer without council approval. The Ombudsman found that the information related to the employment duties of a firefighter and the reporting relationship amongst municipal staff. Accordingly, although not cited by the municipality, the discussion fit within labour relations exception.

Town of Petrolia

May 22, 201822 May 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by council for the Town of Petrolia under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that the municipality was not permitted to receive a presentation about a proposal respecting its community centre in camera simply because the topic might lead to speculation about the impact of the proposal on existing employees. Neither labour-related information nor employees were discussed during the presentation. The exceptions do not extend to discussions about sensitive information, or to information that might lead the public to speculate about otherwise confidential information.

Town of Petrolia

May 22, 201822 May 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by council for the Town of Petrolia under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that the municipality was permitted to discuss a proposal respecting its community centre in camera because all employees of the centre were to be terminated as part of the proposal. Generally, the labour relations exception does not apply to discussions relating to an organizational review or restructuring by a municipality. However, the exception may apply to a discussion relating to reorganization as it affects individuals and their roles. While no individual employees were identified during the meeting by name or position, the portion of discussion about employees applied to every employee of the community centre.

Town of Pelham

April 19, 201819 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Pelham that relied on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception to discuss the conduct and performance of an individual. The Ombudsman found that the discussion involved an individual’s conduct and performance in the context of employment with the town, therefore, the discussion fit within the labour relations exception.

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.   Council’s discussion centered on the employment status of an identifiable staff member.  While not cited by the township, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labor relations exception.

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 personnel issues. This occurred during an ongoing dispute between the firefighters and the township. 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 environment. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception because council discussed the firefighters’ general work environment during an ongoing employment dispute.

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. While in camera, council discussed the performance of particular employees in relation to the restructuring options contained in a staff report. While not cited by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations 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 Ombudsman found that the majority of the discussion focused on service levels and other administrative issues, as well as strategies for sharing information with local residents. Council did not discuss individual employees, their compensation, or their roles. Although it was not relied upon by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the labour relations 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 (BIA) in the Town of Fort Erie, which met in camera to discuss the conduct of an employee of the BIA. The board did not cite a closed meeting exception. The discussion was about an individual employee in the context of their employment relationship to the BIA and included the employee’s job performance. The Ombudsman found that while the board did not rely on the labour relations exception, the discussion fit within that 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. During the closed session, council discussed a proposal to obtain a business valuation of the corporation. Although it did not rely on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception, the municipality suggested it may apply to the discussion. Council did not discuss any specific information about employees or labour negotiations. The Ombudsman found that a discussion about the potential impact a valuation may have on the corporation’s employees does not fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

City of Sault Ste. Marie

August 02, 201602 August 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Sault Ste. Marie to discuss a proposed plan to realign fire services and EMS. The meeting was closed under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. During the closed session, the fire chief gave a presentation to council that covered the effect of the realignment on the local union, as well as a number of other repercussions. The Ombudsman found that the portion of council’s discussion about the local firefighters’ union fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that other topics covered in the presentation, such as risk management, effect on service levels, and financial savings generally do not fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. However, the Ombudsman found that those topics were not discrete and were included to inform council’s discussion about labour relations and were not required to be parsed from the discussion. Therefore, council’s discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

City of Sault Ste. Marie

August 02, 201602 August 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Sault Ste. Marie to discuss a proposed plan to realign fire services and EMS. The meeting was closed under the labour relations and employee negotiations exception. During the closed session, the fire chief gave a presentation to council that covered the effects of the realignment on the local union, and a number of other repercussions. The Ombudsman found that the portion of council’s discussion about the local firefighters’ union fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that other topics covered in the presentation, such as risk management, effects on service levels, and financial savings generally do not fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. However, the Ombudsman found that those topics were not discrete and were included to inform council’s discussion about labour relations, and were not required to be parsed from the discussion. Therefore, council’s discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

Township of Russell

April 19, 201619 April 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss councillor compensation and employee compensation. Council’s discussion about staff compensation involved a discussion about systematic changes to the municipality’s salary grid. While the municipality did not rely on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception, the Ombudsman found that compensation matters relating to staff members fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that councillor remuneration matters do not fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception since council members are not municipal employees.

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, relying on the labour relations and employee negotiations exception. The auditors gave a presentation to council that included information about the performance of various departments. Council also discussed the job performance of particular employees and options council could pursue to address those issues. The Ombudsman found that the auditor’s presentation did not fit within the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations as it pertained to general information about how various departments had performed, rather than relations or negotiations with staff. The Ombudsman found that the portion of the discussion about job performance of particular employees fit within the cited exception.

Township of Bonfield

November 23, 201523 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Public Works Committee for the Township of Bonfield that relied on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception to discuss employee performance matters in the municipality. During the discussion, the committee raised the issue of the performance of two identified employees. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the cited 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 health and safety concerns raised by municipal employees. The municipality retained a labour consultant to provide advice on the complaints. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception because council discussed the conditions of work for specific employees, as well as the general work environment for all employees in a specific department, and decided to terminate the employment of two employees.

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. While not cited by either municipality, the Ombudsman found that a portion of the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiation exception because the councils were discussing position changes for identified employees.

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 to discuss possible amalgamation of the two municipalities. While not cited by either municipality, the Ombudsman found that a portion of the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiation exception because the councils were discussing position changes for identified employees.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by council for the City of Elliot Lake 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 exception for labour relations or employee negotiations.

Municipality of South Huron

March 02, 201502 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of South Huron to discuss an identified employee’s disagreement with the application of the municipality’s personnel policy. During the discussion, council received a legal opinion on the matter. Although not relied upon by council, the Ombudsman found that the portion of the discussion related to the solicitor’s advice fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Municipality of South Huron

March 02, 201502 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of South Huron to discuss a number of staffing issues, relying the labour relations exception. The discussion included staff performance reviews, staff conduct, discipline, and the salaries of specific employees. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

Township of Black River-Matheson

January 09, 201509 January 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Black River-Matheson to discuss an ongoing labour dispute with its unionized employees, relying on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussions fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

Town of Amherstburg

December 15, 201415 December 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg that relied on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception to discuss the selection process for a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).Council discussed the résumé and qualifications of an identifiable individual who applied for the position, expressed opinions about the individual, and considered sending the candidate an offer of employment. The Ombudsman found that the labour relations or employee negotiations exception could apply to council’s discussion.

Township of Baldwin

December 09, 201409 December 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Baldwin to discuss the qualification of candidates for a staff position. The meeting was closed under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. Council discussed the applications and the possibility of extending an offer to a potential future employee. The Ombudsman found that the labour relations or employee negotiations exception refers to the collective relationship between an employer and its employees. Therefore, the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

City of Welland

November 18, 201418 November 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland that relied on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception to discuss a shared services proposal with the public library. Council discussed staffing changes, workload, and the roles of particular employees. The labour relations or employee negotiations exception refers to the collective relationship between an employer and its employees. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations 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.  Council’s discussion included specific information about the performance of identified staff members and the retirement of two staff members. While not relied upon by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that council’s discussion about the performance of identified employees fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

City of London

April 24, 201424 April 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee for the City of London to discuss the municipality’s fire services budget. The meeting was closed under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Committee’s discussion focused on confidential labour relations and other employment-related matters with respect to the fire services department. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

City of Timmins

April 09, 201409 April 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Timmins that relied on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception to discuss the annual wage increase for council and non-union staff. It was the municipality’s long-standing practice to link council salaries to non-union staff salary rates. The discussion did not specifically address council remuneration separate from consideration of the general wage increase to apply to non-union staff. The Ombudsman found that the labour relations or employee negotiations exception applies to relations and conditions of work beyond those of collective bargaining, including remuneration outside of a traditional employment arrangement. The Ombudsman found that council’s consideration of a wage increase for non-unionized staff fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that the exception may only apply to council remuneration where it is linked to non-union staff remuneration and there is no separate consideration of council salaries.

Town of Amherstburg

December 09, 201309 December 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held in an emergency session by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss staff retention and reorganization. The meeting was closed under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. Council’s discussion included the effect of staff retention and reorganization on individual staff members and their roles. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands

December 06, 201306 December 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Personnel Committee for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands to discuss information and staff opinions on senior staff compensation. The meeting was closed under the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations. The committee’s mandate was to make recommendations to council about this issue and to negotiate a tentative agreement with employees on remuneration and retention. The Ombudsman found that the committee’s discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception because the discussion was dealing directly with the terms of employment for senior staff.

Township of Bonfield

October 30, 201330 October 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Personnel Committee for the Township of Bonfield that relied on the labour relations or employee negotiations exception to discuss specific municipal employees, their jobs and pay status. The Ombudsman found that the committee’s discussion fit within the cited exception.

Town of Amherstburg

September 12, 201312 September 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss an organizational review of the municipality’s staff. The meeting was closed under the labour relations and employee negotiations exception. During the closed session meeting, a consultant presented a report to council on the roles and responsibilities of staff members and information on how the findings would affect both unionized and non-unionized staff. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the cited exception. General discussions regarding a municipal organization chart and various staff positions would not fit within the labour relations and employee negotiations exception. However, the Ombudsman found in this case that the information was for background and context for the labour relations discussions.