239(2)(f) Advice subject to solicitor-client privilege

KEY SUMMARIES

Town of Deep River

October 03, 201703 October 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Deep River that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a police services consultation plan. Council had previously received written advice from its solicitors related to a former police chief’s contract, however that advice was not discussed during the in camera meeting. The Ombudsman found that the discussion was limited to whether and how information about the contract should be disclosed to the public. There was no solicitor or related communication. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

City of London

February 17, 201717 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by council for the City of London which relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the appointment of an integrity commissioner and a recent integrity commissioner report. Legal counsel was present during both meetings to answer questions and provide legal advice. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Municipality of Temagami

February 09, 201709 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Temagami that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss correspondence from identifiable individuals. During the meeting, the clerk provided council with an overview of a conversation with legal counsel, including preliminary comments and legal advice related to the correspondence. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

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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. During the closed session, council discussed legal advice previously obtained from the municipality’s solicitor. Accordingly, although not cited by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the solicitor-client advice exception.

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 to discuss an application made under the Land Titles Act for a property located within the municipality. During the Ombudsman’s review, the municipality raised the solicitor-client advice exception as applicable to the closed meeting. During the meeting, staff briefly referenced legal advice that the municipality had previously received. The Ombudsman found that the legal advice was only briefly mentioned and not discussed further by council. Accordingly, the discussion did not fit within the solicitor-client advice exception.

Town of Petrolia

May 22, 201822 May 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by council for the Town of Petrolia under the solicitor-client privilege exception. The municipality had received legal advice about a third party proposal respecting operation of the municipality’s community recreation centre. However, during the meeting, the legal advice was not discussed. The discussion did not fit in the exception.

Town of Pelham

April 19, 201819 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Pelham to discuss an external consultant’s report to council regarding municipal financial information. The consultant was retained by the municipality’s lawyers to review and interpret the financial information provided by the town. The Ombudsman found that the consultant acted as a translator, interpreting the financial information and explaining it to the lawyers to allow them to formulate legal advice. While in closed session, the town’s treasurer also presented information about the municipality’s financial status. In most cases, information provided to council by staff about a municipality’s finances would not fit within any of the exceptions to the open meeting rules and should be discussed in open session. However, the Ombudsman found this part of the discussion fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception because the information provided by the treasurer was provided to allow the lawyers to understand the financial information, in order to provide legal advice to the town. Therefore, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Township of Lanark Highlands

January 04, 201804 January 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Lanark Highlands which relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the municipality’s staff-council communication structure. During the closed session, council discussed written legal advice from the municipality’s solicitor that touched upon several matters. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion generally focused on the legal opinion, however several times council’s discussion went beyond the written legal advice and into other matters. The Ombudsman found that the portion of council’s discussion beyond the written legal advice did not fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Township of Lanark Highlands

January 04, 201804 January 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Lanark Highlands that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss financial software on a municipal-wide basis. During the closed session, council received written legal advice on several topics. There was no legal advice received on the financial software. The municipality suggested that the discussion about the software was merely incidental to its consideration of legal advice received on another topic. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion about the financial software was neither brief or incidental to its discussion about the legal advice. Therefore, that portion of council’s discussion did not fit within the solicitor-client privilege 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 that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a police services consultation plan. Council had previously received written advice from its solicitors related to a former police chief’s contract, however that advice was not discussed during the in camera meeting. The Ombudsman found that the discussion was limited to whether and how information about the contract should be disclosed to the public. There was no solicitor or related communication. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Norfolk County

July 05, 201705 July 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for Norfolk County to receive a deputation from representatives of the Port Dover Community Health Centre Board. The meeting was closed using the exception for solicitor-client privilege. During the meeting, the municipality’s solicitor provided legal advice to council. The Ombudsman found that these portions of the closed meeting fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Township of Alfred and Plantagenet

May 10, 201710 May 2017

Council for the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet participated in working sessions with a consultant with respect to a proposed organizational study. The Ombudsman reviewed the working sessions. A council member described these sessions as being confidential, akin to solicitor-client privilege. The Ombudsman found that the Municipal Act, 2001 does not contain any exceptions to protect confidential discussions with consultants who are not solicitors representing a municipality. As council did not receive advice from a solicitor during the working sessions, the solicitor-client privilege exception could not apply.

City of London

March 01, 201701 March 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Corporate Services Committee for the City of London to discuss the hiring policy for senior staff, relying on the solicitor-client privilege exception. The municipality informed the Ombudsman that municipal solicitors were present during the closed session and provided legal advice, and that nothing else was addressed. The Ombudsman noted that some municipalities choose to waive solicitor-client privilege and provide privileged information during an investigation. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

City of London

February 17, 201717 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by council for the City of London which relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the appointment of an integrity commissioner and a recent integrity commissioner report. Legal counsel was present during both meetings to answer questions and provide legal advice. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Municipality of Temagami

February 09, 201709 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Temagami that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss correspondence from identifiable individuals. During the meeting, the clerk provided council with an overview of a conversation with legal counsel, including preliminary comments and legal advice related to the correspondence. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

City of Timmins

January 23, 201723 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Timmins that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss potential performers at an upcoming festival. Although staff had contacted the municipality’s solicitor for legal advice about the festival, that advice was not conveyed to council during the closed session. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of Greater Sudbury

January 20, 201720 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by council for the City of Greater Sudbury that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss transit tickets in the municipality. During the discussion, council received a third-party investigation report that included information about employee negligence and conduct. Council also received written legal advice from the municipality’s solicitor about the report. The Ombudsman found that the discussions fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of Niagara Falls (Niagara District Airport Commission)

December 29, 201629 December 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss ongoing airport fee negotiations and related airport upgrades. The Ombudsman found that the commission did not discuss any legal advice during the meeting. There was no solicitor or related communication. The Ombudsman noted that the fact that airport fees may be incorporated by a lawyer into a future contract does not mean the discussion was subject to solicitor-client privilege. Therefore, the commission’s discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

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

December 29, 201629 December 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss ongoing airport fee negotiations and related airport upgrades. The Ombudsman found that the commission did not discuss any legal advice during the meeting. There was no solicitor or related communication. The Ombudsman noted that the fact that airport fees may be incorporated by a lawyer into a future contract does not mean the discussion was subject to solicitor-client privilege. Therefore, the commission’s discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of St. Catharines (Niagara District Airport Commission)

December 29, 201629 December 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss ongoing airport fee negotiations and related airport upgrades. The Ombudsman found that the commission did not discuss any legal advice during the meeting. There was no solicitor or related communication. The Ombudsman noted that the fact that airport fees may be incorporated by a lawyer into a future contract does not mean the discussion was subject to solicitor-client privilege. Therefore, the commission’s discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Norfolk County

November 07, 201607 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for Norfolk County to discuss the development of a site-specific zoning by-law, relying on the solicitor-client advice exception. During the closed session, council received legal advice on the matter from the municipality’s solicitor. The Ombudsman considered the decision in Farber v. Kingston, which found that a description that only stated “legal matters” without more specifics was inadequate. In this case, the Ombudsman found that the resolution was sufficient as it contained a general description, which included the matter to be considered and the type of discussion that would ensue.

Norfolk County

November 07, 201607 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for Norfolk County that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the development of a site specific zoning by-law. The municipality’s solicitor was present during the meeting and provided advice to council pertaining the different options for the zoning by-law and possible appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) pending council’s decision. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of Niagara Falls

November 03, 201603 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a proposal to develop a university campus in the municipality’s downtown area. Council’s discussion focused on a development funding partnership with a post-secondary institution. The municipality’s solicitor was present during the closed session; however, the Ombudsman found that he did not provide any legal advice or participate in the discussion. Therefore, council’s discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of Amherstburg

July 06, 201606 July 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss a request for legal fee reimbursement by an identified individual. Council was provided with a confidential staff report on the matter including a copy of written legal advice obtained from external counsel. While council did not rely on the solicitor-client privilege exception, the Ombudsman considered whether it applied to the discussion. The Ombudsman found that council was provided with written legal advice from external counsel as well as legal advice conveyed by staff from the external counsel. Therefore, the discussion fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Norfolk County

June 10, 201610 June 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council-in-committee for Norfolk County that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a request for proposals for a construction contract in the municipality. During the closed session, staff conveyed legal advice received regarding the vendors that had bid on the contract. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Norfolk County

May 10, 201610 May 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council-in-committee for Norfolk County to discuss the extension of legal services contracts with two law firms. The committee discussed the hourly rate proposed by each firm. While the municipality did not rely on the exception for solicitor-client privilege, the Ombudsman considered whether it would apply to the discussion. The Ombudsman found that it was unclear from existing jurisprudence whether the hourly rate of a lawyer (as opposed to the total amount of legal fees paid under a retainer) is presumptively sheltered under solicitor-client privilege. However, any presumption would be rebutted because the committee did not directly or indirectly reveal any communication protected by privilege by disclosing the lawyers’ hourly rate. Therefore, the Ombudsman found that the committee’s discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of Owen Sound

November 26, 201526 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Owen Sound that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada about prayer during council meetings. The municipality had a practice of beginning each meeting with a faith blessing. During the meeting, council discussed the contents of communications between staff and the municipality’s solicitor which provided legal advice related to council’s faith blessing. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

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 that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss enforcement of a site alteration by-law. The municipality’s solicitor was not present during the meeting, nor was new legal advice considered during the meeting. The committee had received numerous legal opinions at prior closed meetings regarding the site alteration by-law and incorporated the advice into its discussion during the closed meeting under review. The Ombudsman found that it was not necessary for the committee to discuss new legal advice during the closed meeting. The discussion fit within the solicitor-client exception.

Town of Amherstburg

November 20, 201520 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss health and safety concerns raised by municipal employees. The municipality’s solicitor was present throughout the closed session and provided legal advice to council on the matters discussed. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

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 the conditions of a purchase and sale agreement for a proposed residential development that had lapsed. The meeting was closed under the exception for solicitor-client privilege. Council had received a written memorandum from the municipality’s solicitor that provided legal advice on the matter to be discussed. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege because the discussion involved consideration of written legal advice from the municipality’s legal advisor.

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 exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a municipally-controlled corporation. The municipality had received legal advice on the company in the past. The municipality’s legal counsel was not present during the discussion and there was no evidence to suggest that legal advice was discussed. The Ombudsman found that the fact that legal advice has been previously received on a subject does not mean that all future discussions of that subject will fall within the exception for solicitor-client privilege. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the exception.

City of London

June 12, 201512 June 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the City of London’s Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the decommissioning of the old Victoria Hospital lands. The committee discussed legal advice conveyed by staff that was received from the municipality’s solicitor with respect to the process to decommission the site. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of Cochrane

April 27, 201527 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Cochrane that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the Ombudsman’s recommendations made in a previous report. The municipality’s solicitor was present during the meeting and provided legal advice to council. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of Niagara Falls

March 05, 201505 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a lease proposal from Marineland for municipal property. During the meeting, council discussed legal advice received from the municipality’s solicitor with respect to the lease. The Ombudsman found that the discussion 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 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.

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 exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the selection process for a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Council discussed the qualifications of an identifiable individual who applied for the position and expressed opinions about the individual. Throughout the discussion, the municipality’s solicitor provided advice. The Ombudsman found that the parts of the discussion related to the solicitor’s advice fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

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 exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the fact that a municipal staff member had written a cheque without council approval. The municipality’s solicitors were present during the closed session and provided legal advice regarding how councillors should respond to public concerns about the matter.  The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

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 exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss potential litigation against a party pertaining to the Flatwater Centre. The municipality’s solicitors were present and provided advice on the matter. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Township of Joly

September 11, 201411 September 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Joly that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the performance of a specific municipal staff member. The municipality’s solicitor participated in the meeting via telephone to provide advice with respect to the employment matter. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of Midland

June 24, 201424 June 2014
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Midland that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a civilian appointment to the police service board. During the meeting, the municipality’s solicitor was present, provided advice, and received instructions from council. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of London

April 25, 201425 April 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee for the City of London that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the municipality’s budget.  During the meeting, the committee discussed an industrial land strategy and particular land areas the municipality was interested in purchasing. The municipality’s solicitor was present and provided legal advice on the matter. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of Ajax

April 25, 201425 April 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the General Government Committee for the Town of Ajax that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a report on a property encroachment issue. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the exception because the report contained no legal advice or privileged information.

Town of Midland

February 19, 201419 February 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Midland that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a council member’s request for indemnification of legal fees incurred as a police service board member. The Ombudsman found that the substance of the legal advice provided to the council member was not discussed. The focus of the discussion was on whether the legal bill qualified for reimbursement under the municipality’s policy. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit with within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of Carleton Place

February 07, 201407 February 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Carleton Place that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss litigation filed against the municipality regarding a development/permit dispute. Council met with the municipality’s solicitor and received legal advice about the litigation. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of Fort Erie

January 24, 201424 January 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Fort Erie that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss an agreement of purchase and sale for the Crystal Beach Gateway Project. The municipality’s solicitor was present during the meeting and responded to questions posed by council on the matter. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Municipality of Bluewater

January 03, 201403 January 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Bluewater that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a by-law related to building fees for wind turbines. During the meeting, the municipality’s solicitor was present and provided legal advice to council about the resolution of a dispute with various wind turbine companies, and the steps the municipality needed to take to avoid a lawsuit. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Township of Ryerson

December 19, 201319 December 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Ryerson to discuss a rezoning application for a quarry. The meeting was closed under the exception for solicitor-client privilege. The applicant was present during the closed session and reviewed with council the details related to a proposed haul route and site plan. The municipality’s solicitor wrote the cover letter that accompanied the site plan documents. The letter set out the solicitor’s position on the draft terms. The Ombudsman found that the presence of the applicant during the meeting constitutes a waiver of any solicitor-client privilege that might have applied to the discussion. Further, the solicitor’s letter contained comments directed at the third party, not legal advice to the municipality. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Township of North Dumfries

November 07, 201307 November 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of North Dumfries to discuss matters before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Council received an update on the matters from the municipality’s solicitor. Although not relied upon by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of Hamilton

June 24, 201324 June 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Hamilton to receive legal advice from the municipality’s solicitor regarding altering a contract with a consultant. The meeting was closed under the exception for solicitor-client privilege. The solicitor identified options for council with respect to the contract and risks associated with those options. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of South Bruce Peninsula

June 18, 201318 June 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a by-law with the municipality’s solicitor. When council returned to the open session, it passed a resolution to waive solicitor-client privilege and release two legal opinions on the matter. The Ombudsman found that despite the fact that council decided to waive privilege in open session, at the time of the closed session discussion council had sought legal advice that was intended to be confidential. Therefore, the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of Pelham

May 08, 201308 May 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Pelham that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss an environmental protection by-law. During the closed session, the municipality’s legal counsel provided information and answered council’s questions about the by-law. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client.

Municipality of Central Huron

March 13, 201313 March 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Central Huron that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss matters involving a shared services provider. The municipality’s solicitor was not present during the meeting. The Ombudsman found that council did not discuss a specific piece of legal advice during the meeting. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Township of Woolwich

February 25, 201325 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Woolwich to discuss a proposed aggregate pit. During the meeting, the municipality’s solicitor provided an update to council on the status of mediation before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) concerning the aggregate pit, and council reviewed draft minutes of settlement. While not relied upon by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of Niagara Falls (Niagara District Airport Commission)

February 22, 201322 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a request for proposals process. The Ombudsman found that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss legal advice; rather, the commission discussed the status of draft lease agreements. The commission’s solicitor was not present during the meeting. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

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

February 22, 201322 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a request for proposals process. The Ombudsman found that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss legal advice; rather, the commission discussed the status of draft lease agreements. The commission’s solicitor was not present during the meeting. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of St. Catharines (Niagara District Airport Commission)

February 22, 201322 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a request for proposals process. The Ombudsman found that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss legal advice; rather, the commission discussed the status of draft lease agreements. The commission’s solicitor was not present during the meeting. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Township of Tiny

February 21, 201321 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Tiny to discuss possible amendments to the zoning by-law. Council received legal advice from the municipality’s solicitor regarding the possibility of future litigation as a result of the proposed amendments. Although not relied upon by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Township of Ryerson

January 22, 201322 January 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Ryerson to discuss a zoning application for a proposed quarry. Towards the end of the meeting, council received and reviewed a written memo from the municipality’s solicitor containing legal advice related to the application. While the municipality did not rely on the exception for solicitor-client privilege, the Ombudsman found that the portion of council’s discussion that considered the legal advice contained in the memorandum fit within that exception.

Town of Amherstburg

July 20, 201220 July 2012

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss a report issued by the Ombudsman, relying on the exception for solicitor-client privilege. Council considered written legal advice from the municipality’s solicitor who was also present during the closed session. The written legal advice had been publicly posted on the municipality’s website in error. The Ombudsman found that in many cases, public disclosure of confidential information is a factor weighing in favour of discussing the information in the open. In this case, the Ombudsman found that the information posted to the municipality’s website was done so in error and was intended to remain confidential. Council did not waive its solicitor-client privilege. Therefore, the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Township of Adelaide-Metcalfe

June 04, 201204 June 2012

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Adelaide-Metcalfe that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a site plan agreement and cost-sharing proposal from a local developer. The developer’s representatives were present during the closed session. The Ombudsman found that solicitor-client privilege applies to communications between a lawyer and client that entails the seeking or giving of legal advice and is intended to be confidential by the parties. In order to qualify for the exception, the privilege must not be waived by the municipality. The Ombudsman found that the presence of third parties at the closed session constituted a waiver of the solicitor-client privilege. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of London

March 19, 201219 March 2012

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Committee of the Whole for the City of London that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the Occupy London protest. The Ombudsman found that the committee received legal advice from the municipality’s solicitor during the meeting including advice pertaining to potential litigation relating to the protest. Therefore, the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.