239(3.1) Education or training

KEY SUMMARIES

City of Brockville

July 19, 201619 July 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by the OPP Contact Adhoc Committee for the City of Brockville with representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to receive information about the OPP’s costing process to provide municipal policing services. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. The information received by the committee was general in nature. The committee did not receive specific information about the OPP’s forthcoming costing proposal or discuss if the municipality should contract with the OPP for municipal policing services. The Ombudsman found that this portion of council’s discussion fit within the education or training exception. However, in addition to receiving general education during the closed session, the committee discussed engaging a local audit firm and directed staff to determine if the firm could assess the OPP costing proposal. The Ombudsman found that when a meeting is closed under the education or training exception, no votes can be taken that advance business or decision-making.

Township of Russell

January 05, 201605 January 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to receive training on strategic planning. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. During the session, councillors were taught the basic principles and vocabulary related to the strategic planning process. The presentation used the current strategic plan for the municipality as a reference point for abstract principles and vocabulary that was being taught. The discussion was not a workshop or free flow of ideas but rather a specific training course. There was no decision-making or discussion of specific municipal priorities or planning. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the education or training exception.

Town of Moosonee

September 23, 201423 September 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Moosonee to receive information from a municipal advisor from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. During the closed session, the municipal advisor reviewed a letter from the minister and discussed the terms of a funding arrangement offered by the ministry to the municipality. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the education or training exception because the information relayed to council was not general in nature, and related to matters that directly affected the business of the municipality.

FILTER BY:

City of Oshawa

July 19, 201619 July 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by council for the City of Oshawa with representatives from the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC) to receive information related to a potential merger of OPUC with Veridian Corporation, a shared services provider. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. The majority of the presentation was intended to inform council about a particular course of action that would likely come before council for a future vote. The municipality believed that the non-disclosure agreement between OPUC and Veridian meant the discussion should be held in closed session. The Ombudsman found that the purpose of the education or training exception is not to protect disclosure of sensitive business information. The Ombudsman found that the information presented and the questions asked materially advanced council’s business and decision-making. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the education or training exception.

City of Brockville

July 19, 201619 July 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by the OPP Contact Adhoc Committee for the City of Brockville with representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to receive information about the OPP’s costing process to provide municipal policing services. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. The information received by the committee was general in nature. The committee did not receive specific information about the OPP’s forthcoming costing proposal or discuss if the municipality should contract with the OPP for municipal policing services. The Ombudsman found that this portion of council’s discussion fit within the education or training exception. However, in addition to receiving general education during the closed session, the committee discussed engaging a local audit firm and directed staff to determine if the firm could assess the OPP costing proposal. The Ombudsman found that when a meeting is closed under the education or training exception, no votes can be taken that advance business or decision-making.

Township of Russell

January 05, 201605 January 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to receive training on strategic planning. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. During the session, councillors were taught the basic principles and vocabulary related to the strategic planning process. The presentation used the current strategic plan for the municipality as a reference point for abstract principles and vocabulary that was being taught. The discussion was not a workshop or free flow of ideas but rather a specific training course. There was no decision-making or discussion of specific municipal priorities or planning. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the education or training exception.

Township of Russell

November 02, 201502 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by Council for the Township of Russell to receive a rebranding presentation for the municipality. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. After returning to open session, council debated the rebranding proposal and voted to approve the new logo. The Ombudsman found that the information presented was directly about council business and was intended to form the basis of council decision-making. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the education or training exception.

Village of Casselman

April 16, 201516 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Village of Casselman with local developers at a roundtable to discuss development within the municipality. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. The discussion was not general in nature and related to council business. The scope of the education or training exception extends to meetings that are closed to allow council members to receive information that may assist them in better understanding the business of the municipality and/or to acquire skills, rather than exchange information on an issue. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the education or training exception.

Town of Fort Erie

April 13, 201513 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Fort Erie to receive a presentation from the local Economic Development and Tourism Corporation (EDTC). The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. During the presentation, EDTC staff provided general information to council about the EDTC. This information was intended to inform council decision-making.  In previous open meetings, council had met with the EDTC to discuss aligning councillor priorities with the municipality’s strategic plan. The Ombudsman found that there was no indication that discussions of that nature took place during the closed session. Therefore, the general discussion of the EDTC’s role fit within the education or training exception.

City of Welland

November 18, 201418 November 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland to receive a presentation from staff regarding the local development corporation’s strategic plan. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. The strategic plan had been approved by council at an earlier open meeting. During the closed session, council discussed information relating to the municipality that it considered sensitive. The purpose of the education or training exception is not to shield sensitive information from the public. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the education or training exception because the discussion did not relate solely to educating council, rather it was intended to inform their decision-making and advance the formulation of the municipality’s economic strategy.

Town of Moosonee

September 23, 201423 September 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Moosonee to receive information from a municipal advisor from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. During the closed session, the municipal advisor reviewed a letter from the minister and discussed the terms of a funding arrangement offered by the ministry to the municipality. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the education or training exception because the information relayed to council was not general in nature, and related to matters that directly affected the business of the municipality.

City of Oshawa

April 23, 200923 April 2009

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Development Services Committee for the City of Oshawa to receive information from a local composting operation related to odour complaints. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. During the meeting, representatives from the composting operation discussed the rezoning of lands in the vicinity of the facility and the repercussions for the facility’s future plans. The Ombudsman found that while the committee did not deal with council business, the discussion went beyond the scope of education and into the realm of lobbying. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the education or training exception.

Town of Fort Erie

February 06, 200806 February 2008

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Fort Erie at an off-site location to participate in a program aimed at improving communication and team-building skills. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. Any council business was only discussed in a minor way to illustrate points being discussed. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the education or training exception.