Notice

KEY SUMMARIES

City of Niagara Falls

November 03, 201603 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the council for the City of Niagara Falls. Council went into closed session before a regularly scheduled meeting. While notice of the regular meeting was provided to the public, there was no notice of the closed session that would be held before the regular meeting. The Ombudsman found that some media outlets had received information about the closed meeting, although the public had not. As a result, the public was denied notice of the closed meeting.

Town of Kirkland Lake

November 21, 201721 November 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed several meetings of the Recreation Committee for the Town of Kirkland Lake which occurred without public notice. The Ombudsman determined that the committee was a committee of council, and therefore subject to the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found that the committee failed to provide public notice of its meetings, and therefore, the meetings were not open to the public.

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 took place in a basement boardroom before an open session in council chambers. The municipality’s procedure by-law stipulates that matters on the closed meeting agenda will be discussed at a time and place set out in the public meeting agenda. For the meeting in question, notice of the open session was provided in accordance with the procedure by-law. However, the public agenda failed to include the location of the closed meeting that took place prior to the open session. The Ombudsman found that while the public were properly informed of the date and time of the closed meeting, the municipality failed to provide notice of the correct location for it.

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Municipality of Lambton Shores

August 02, 201902 August 2019

The Ombudsman received a complaint about a special meeting held by the Municipality of Lambton Shores on April 15, 2019. The complaint alleged the public did not receive notice for the special meeting held by council at 12:00 p.m. The municipality posted the public notice for the special meeting on April 14 at 6:40 p.m. on the municipality’s website, in accordance with its procedure by-law. The municipality’s procedure by-law allowed for public notice of special meetings to be provided “as soon as practical.” The Ombudsman provided best practice suggestions related to the procedure by-law and requiring a public notice period for special meetings.

Municipality of Temagami

May 16, 201916 May 2019

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Municipality of Temagami did not provide notice of its January 10 and March 28, 2019 meetings. The complaint alleged that no notice was provided for the January 10 meeting and that conflicting and inaccurate notice was provided for the March 28 meeting. The Ombudsman’s review identified administrative issues with the meeting notice provided for the closed meetings on January 10 and March 28, 2019. The municipality acknowledged these errors and said that it had already taken steps to improve its processes.

Municipality of Callander

October 31, 201831 October 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting of the committee of the whole for the Municipality of Callander. The municipality was unable to provide evidence that the notice of the meeting was provided to the public in accordance with the municipality’s procedure by-law which required that notice be posted at least 48 hours before the meeting online and in the municipal offices. The Ombudsman found that notice was posted less than 36 hours before the meeting.

City of Owen Sound (Downtown Improvement Area)

October 02, 201802 October 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed four meetings of the Owen Sound Downtown Improvement Area. The Ombudsman noted that notice of the meetings was provided 72 hours before each meeting, although the meetings were not held on their originally scheduled dates as noted on the website. The Ombudsman determined that the Owen Sound Downtown Improvement Area complied with the notice requirements in the Municipal Act, 2001 and its procedure by-law, although its website had provided inaccurate information about the board's meeting schedule.

Township of The North Shore

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Township of the North Shore. Notice of the meeting was posted on bulletin boards located within the municipality but not on the municipality’s website. The Ombudsman noted that the municipality’s procedure by-law was silent on public notice for special meetings. The Ombudsman found that the posted notice on the bulletin board was sufficient. However, the Ombudsman recommended that the township amend its procedure by-law to formalize its general practice of posting notice on the bulletin boards and online.

Township of Tehkummah

May 31, 201831 May 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Township of Tehkummah. Through inadvertence, the municipality failed to post notice of a special meeting in accordance with the procedure by-law. The Ombudsman wrote to remind the municipality of its obligations under the open meeting rules.

City of Hamilton

May 17, 201817 May 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed meetings held by the Waste Management Advisory Committee for the City of Hamilton. The committee is a committee of council subject to the open meeting rules, as at least 50% of its members are members of council. The municipality failed to post notice of two meetings of the committee in contravention of the Act. While the municipality posted a regular meeting time for the committee on its website, it did not indicate a location. The two meetings in question also took place at a time different from that posted. The Ombudsman recommended the municipality ensure it always provide notice before meetings of the committee, and that the municipality amend its procedure by-law to provide for notice of advisory committee meetings.

Township of Tehkummah

April 18, 201818 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of council for the Township of Tehkummah. Notice of the meeting was provided one day prior and stated that it was an emergency meeting. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to provide proper notice of the meeting since the procedure by-law required notice be posted at the municipal office two days prior to a meeting. The Ombudsman also found that the procedure by-law was silent on the calling of emergency meetings.

Town of Kirkland Lake

November 21, 201721 November 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed several meetings of the Recreation Committee for the Town of Kirkland Lake which occurred without public notice. The Ombudsman determined that the committee was a committee of council, and therefore subject to the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found that the committee failed to provide public notice of its meetings, and therefore, the meetings were not open to the public.

Town of Grimsby

May 17, 201717 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed meetings held by council for the Town of Grimsby in its capacity as a shareholder of Niagara Power Inc. that occurred without notice to the public. The municipality suggested council was entitled to meet in its capacity as shareholder of the corporation under the Business Corporations Act, and that the meetings were not subject to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that the municipality is the majority shareholder of Niagara Power Inc., but that individual members of council are not shareholders. When the company holds a shareholders’ meeting, council is invited to attend in its capacity as the representative of the town. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the municipality must provide public notice of the meetings in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman also provided best practice examples for conducting shareholder meetings for municipally-controlled corporations from other municipalities.

City of Elliot Lake

December 22, 201622 December 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed two meetings of the Ad Hoc Multi-Use Complex Committee for the City of Elliot Lake. The committee’s procedure by-law requires public notice be posted on a bulletin board. As a general practice, the municipality also posts notice of its meetings on the municipal website, however, this was not done for the two committee meetings under review. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to provide notice of the two meetings on either the bulletin board or the website.

Township of Hornepayne

December 13, 201613 December 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by the Nuclear Waste Community Liaison Committee for the Township of Hornepayne. The committee’s terms of reference require that notice of special meetings be posted on the committee’s website prior to the meeting. The Ombudsman found that the committee failed to provide notice on the website prior to the special meeting in accordance with the terms of reference. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to provide notice of committee meetings.

City of Niagara Falls

November 03, 201603 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the council for the City of Niagara Falls. Council went into closed session before a regularly scheduled meeting. While notice of the regular meeting was provided to the public, there was no notice of the closed session that would be held before the regular meeting. The Ombudsman found that some media outlets had received information about the closed meeting, although the public had not. As a result, the public was denied notice of the closed meeting.

Municipality of West Nipissing

September 27, 201627 September 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Municipality of West Nipissing. Notice of the meeting was provided on the same day of the meeting. The procedure by-law did not address notice of special meetings. The general practice of the municipality was to post notice of a special meeting on a bulletin board and on the municipal website. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality include provisions for providing public notice of special meetings in its procedure by-law.

Norfolk County

May 10, 201610 May 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council-in-committee for Norfolk County. The municipality’s procedure by-law requires that notice of meetings be posted on the municipal website and that the notice include a copy of the meeting agenda. The Ombudsman found that the county met the notice requirements of the procedure by-law. The Ombudsman also noted that there is no provision in the Municipal Act, 2001 requiring municipalities to provide advance notice of the matters to be discussed in closed session.

Village of Casselman

January 29, 201629 January 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed several meetings held by council for the Village of Casselman. The Ombudsman recommended that the Village of Casselman include provisions for providing public notice of special meetings in its procedure by-law.

Regional Municipality of Niagara

November 28, 201528 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Long Term Case Task Force for the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Notice of the meeting was not provided to the public. The Ombudsman found that the Long Term Case Task Force had to comply with the open meeting requirements when meeting, including providing notice as required by the Municipal Act, 2001 and by the municipality’s procedure by-law.

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 took place in a basement boardroom before an open session in council chambers. The municipality’s procedure by-law stipulates that matters on the closed meeting agenda will be discussed at a time and place set out in the public meeting agenda. For the meeting in question, notice of the open session was provided in accordance with the procedure by-law. However, the public agenda failed to include the location of the closed meeting that took place prior to the open session. The Ombudsman found that while the public were properly informed of the date and time of the closed meeting, the municipality failed to provide notice of the correct location for it.

Township of West Lincoln

November 23, 201523 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Administration/Finance/Fire Committee of the Township of West Lincoln which included a closed session. Notice of the meeting was posted on the municipal website and on the paper meeting calendar in the township administration building in accordance with the procedure by-law. There was a concern that the notice did not provide information about the content of the closed session discussion. The Ombudsman found that advance notice of the individual matters to be discussed in closed session is not required and therefore, there was no violation of the Municipal Act, 2001.

Village of Burk's Falls and Armour Township

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a joint meeting held by the councils for the Village of Burk’s Falls and Armour Township. The Ombudsman found that each municipality was responsible for providing its own notice of the meeting. The Ombudsman found that Armour Township provided notice of the meeting in accordance with its procedure by-law, which required notice be posted on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the Village of Burk’s Falls did not provide notice of the meeting. The procedure by-law for the Village of Burk’s Falls requires notice be posted at the municipal office, recorded on the municipal telephone answering machine, and posted on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the meeting was not an emergency meeting and therefore, the Village of Burk’s Falls was required to provided notice in accordance with its procedure by-law.

Armour Township and Village of Burk's Falls

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a joint meeting held by the councils for the Village of Burk’s Falls and Armour Township. The Ombudsman found that each municipality was responsible for providing its own notice of the meeting. The Ombudsman found that Armour Township provided notice of the meeting in accordance with its procedure by-law, which required notice be posted on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the Village of Burk’s Falls did not provide notice of the meeting. The procedure by-law for the Village of Burk’s Falls requires notice be posted at the municipal office, recorded on the municipal telephone answering machine, and posted on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the meeting was not an emergency meeting and therefore, the Village of Burk’s Falls was required to provided notice in accordance with its procedure by-law.

Town of South Bruce Peninsula

October 06, 201506 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula. Notice was provided 24 hours before the meeting took place. The Ombudsman found that the procedure by-law requires public notice be provided 48 hours prior to a meeting except in the case of emergency meetings. The Ombudsman found that the meeting qualified as an emergency meeting, therefore the municipality provided notice in accordance with the procedure by-law.

Township of Woolwich

August 10, 201510 August 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a number of closed meetings held by council for the Township of Woolwich. There was no notice about the location of these meetings provided to the public. The Ombudsman found that even when a meeting is closed, the public has the right to attend the open session when the resolution is passed to go in camera.

Township of Chamberlain

July 08, 201508 July 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed several closed meetings held by council for the Township of Chamberlain. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to reflect council’s current meeting schedule, provide for public notice, and reflect the actual wording of all open meeting exceptions of the Municipal Act, 2001.

Township of McMurrich/Monteith

July 06, 201506 July 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed several closed meetings held by council for the Township of McMurrich/Monteith. The Ombudsman found that the municipality violated its procedure by-law by extending a closed meeting past its 11 p.m. curfew. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to provide for public notice of all meetings, including special meetings.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake. Notice of the meeting was initially provided via the municipal website and posted on a bulletin board, but was removed and reposted the next day. The procedure by-law requires notice of a special meeting be provided as soon as reasonably possible. The Ombudsman found that in this case, notice was provided in accordance with the procedure by-law. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to reflect council’s practice of providing notice to the public of special meetings through posting meeting agendas on the website and in the municipal office, as well as by alerting the media.

Municipality of Central Huron

April 06, 201506 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by Council for the Municipality of Central Huron that included a closed session. There was no prior notice provided about the closed session. The Ombudsman found that the municipality’s procedure by-law does not require that advance notice be provided in order for council to move into closed session.

City of Niagara Falls

March 05, 201505 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting that was held before a regular open meeting by council for the City of Niagara Falls. Public notice was provided for the open meeting in accordance with the municipality’s procedure by-law, but there was no formal notice of the closed meeting because council relied on the media to publicize it. The Ombudsman found that the municipality did not meet the notice requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001 because it relied on the media to publicize the closed session and no direct notice was provided to the public.

Township of Black River-Matheson

January 09, 201509 January 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Committee of the Whole for the Township of Black River-Matheson. The meeting agenda did not include the fact that the meeting included a closed session or the location of the meeting. The meeting was not held in council chambers, but rather in an arena to accommodate a higher public turnout. The municipality’s general practice was to post notice on a bulletin board and on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to provide sufficient notice of the meeting because it failed to include the location of the meeting. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality’s procedure by-law should explicitly provide for notice to the public of regular or special meetings.

Municipality of Killarney

October 08, 201408 October 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of council for the Municipality of Killarney. During the meeting, council left chambers to conduct a site visit. While members of the public were invited to accompany council on the site visit, the Ombudsman found that if meetings or portions of meetings occur anywhere other than council chambers, notice should be provided of the change of venue so that members of the public can attend if they wish.

Town of Moosonee

September 09, 201409 September 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Town of Moosonee. Notice was provided on a bulletin board. The procedure by-law requires that notice of all meetings be provided on the bulletin board as well as a local community TV channel. The Ombudsman found that notice of the special meeting was not provided on the community TV channel because of a lack of time. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to provide notice in accordance with the procedure by-law. The Ombudsman recommended that the procedure by-law address notice requirements for special meetings specifically. The Ombudsman also recommended that short-notice meetings be called only in the case of a genuine emergency in order to maximize public knowledge of and attendance at the meeting.

Township of Adelaide Metcalfe

June 27, 201427 June 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the council for the Township of Adelaide Metcalfe. Public notice of the meeting was not provided. The procedure by-law states that in the case of an emergency meeting, the clerk shall determine how notice is provided. The Ombudsman found that the subject matter of the meeting should not have constituted an emergency and that notice should have been provided.

City of Owen Sound

June 05, 201405 June 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Owen Sound to discuss funding for an MRI machine. The Ombudsman made recommendations to improve the municipality’s closed meeting practices and procedures. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to provide notice of special meetings and to create a process for adding items to the meeting agenda.

Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands

December 06, 201306 December 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Personnel Committee of Council for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands. Public notice of the meeting was not provided. The municipality’s procedure by-law did not apply to committees, however the Ombudsman found that committees must also comply with the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001.

City of Elliott Lake

May 02, 201302 May 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed an emergency meeting held by council of for the City of Elliott Lake. It was impossible to provide notice of the meeting on the municipal website because the matter under discussion arose after business hours. The municipality tried to inform the local newspaper and radio station. The Ombudsman found that the procedure by-law requires notice of special meetings be provided as soon as reasonably possible. The Ombudsman found that in this case there were reasonable steps taken to provide public notice.

Town of Larder Lake

April 16, 201316 April 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Planning Committee for the Town of Larder Lake. The Ombudsman recommended that the town amend its procedure by-law to address the open meeting practices of committees and to require public notice of all meetings.

Regional Municipality of Niagara

August 27, 201227 August 2012

The Ombudsman reviewed the practice of the Regional Municipality of Niagara, which did not post the agendas for the meetings of its committees on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that although the municipal website provided an annual calendar of committee meetings, the procedure by-law requires public notice of all committee meetings by posting the agenda, time and date of each meeting as well. The Ombudsman found that the municipality did not provide notice of committee meetings as required and defined by its by-law, because it did not include meeting agendas alongside the meeting dates on the municipal website’s annual calendar of committee meetings.

Town of Larder Lake

November 29, 201129 November 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed an emergency meeting held by council for the Town of Larder Lake. Notice of the meeting was provided to council and to an individual involved in the emergency matter but it was not provided to the public. The Ombudsman found that the procedure by-law did not require notice of emergency meetings. The Ombudsman recommended that even for urgent matters, notice of the public should be provided as soon as possible.

Township of Russell

September 02, 201102 September 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Minor Variance Committee for the Township of Russell. Notice was provided in accordance with the Planning Act. The Ombudsman found that the committee is a local board for the purposes of the Municipal Act, 2001 and must comply with the open meeting requirements, including notice.  Although, public notice was provided under the Planning Act, the Ombudsman recommended that a procedure by-law be enacted to set out public notice requirements for the committee in accordance with the Municipal Act.  

Town of Mattawa

January 11, 201111 January 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed several meetings held by the Ad Hoc Heritage Committee for the Town of Mattawa. The Ombudsman found that the committee failed to provide notice of its meetings in violation of the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality’s procedure by-law provide for public notice of meetings. As a best practice, municipalities are encouraged to list all items on the agenda and a description of the items to be discussed in closed session.

Town of South Bruce Peninsula

July 07, 201007 July 2010

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula. The Ombudsman found that notice of the meetings was provided in accordance with the procedure by-law. However, in some cases, council discussed matters in closed session that were not included in the agenda that had been posted in advance. The Ombudsman recommended that in the interest of transparency and accountability, council should avoid discussing matters that were not the subject of prior notice, except in urgent situations. 

Township of Baldwin

May 23, 200923 May 2009

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Baldwin. The Ombudsman found that the municipality’s procedure by-law failed to adhere to the requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001 in a number of ways, including authorizing council to meet in closed session for reasons beyond the exceptions contained in the Act. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its by-law to require notice for all meetings, properly reflect the Act’s closed meeting exceptions, establish agenda procedures, and require complete and accurate records for all council meetings.

Township of Nipissing

February 06, 200906 February 2009

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Township of Nipissing. Notice of the meeting was not provided. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to provide notice in accordance with its procedure by-law, which requires notice of special meetings be posted on a bulletin board and on the municipal website at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

Township of Emo

January 30, 200930 January 2009

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by council for the Township of Emo. Notice of the meeting was provided in accordance with its procedure by-law. The notice provided for the minimum information required, the date, time and place of the meeting. The Ombudsman found that many municipalities require that an agenda listing the matters to be discussed be publicly posted in advance of the meeting  - a practice that is consistent with the intent of the open meeting rules. Advance public notice of a meeting should include all items to be considered at a meeting, including a general description of subjects to be considered in closed session. Items that have not been the subject of advance notice should only be considered in rare circumstances where urgency does not permit the normal notice requirements to be met, and after additional procedural requirements have been satisfied.