Procedure by-law

KEY SUMMARIES

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.

City of Brockville

July 19, 201619 July 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Ontario Provincial Police Contact Adhoc Committee for the City of Brockville. The Ombudsman found that the municipality had failed to amend its procedure by-law since 1994 and did not require notice for all of the municipality’s meetings. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality engage in a comprehensive review of its procedure by-law and update it to reflect the current state of the Municipal Act, 2001.

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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.

Village of Casselman

July 03, 201803 July 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings of council for the Village of Casselman. The Ombudsman noted that the municipality’s procedure by-law did not reflect the mandatory closed meeting provisions in sections 239(3)(a) and (b) of the Municipal Act, 2001. Moreover, the procedure by-law did not reflect the Village’s current meeting practices. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law accordingly.

Village of Casselman

July 03, 201803 July 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Village of Casselman. The Ombudsman noted that council failed to report back after the closed session, as required by the municipality’s procedure by-law. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found the municipality to be in violation of its own procedure by-law and recommended that council report back in open session following its in camera meetings.

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. The resolution to proceed into closed session listed “fighter’s honourarium” as the sole topic. Once in closed session, council also discussed a communications protocol between the fire department and staff. The Ombudsman noted that the municipality’s procedure by-law requires that only business dealing directly with the agenda be transacted at a closed meeting. The Ombudsman found that the resolution to proceed in camera should have included more information about the subject matter to be discussed during the closed session.

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.

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.

Municipality of St.-Charles

June 30, 201730 June 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the General Government Committee for the Municipality of St.-Charles. The Ombudsman found a number of deficiencies with the municipality’s procedure by-law. For example, despite reference to the closed meeting exceptions being listed in Schedule C, this schedule did not actually contain the Municipal Act’s exceptions. The Ombudsman recommended that council for the municipality update its procedure by-law to reflect the open meeting provisions of the Municipal Act, 2001.

Municipality of St.-Charles

June 30, 201730 June 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by the General Government Committee for the Municipality of St.-Charles to discuss allegations regarding credit card abuse. The Ombudsman found that the municipality’s procedure by-law failed to reflect the open meeting provisions of the Municipal Act, 2001, despite a previous recommendation from the Ombudsman to the municipality to update its procedure by-law in this respect. The Ombudsman reiterated the recommendation.

Township of Alfred and Plantagenet

May 10, 201710 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet to discuss various matters, including a proposed organizational study. The township’s procedure by-law states that the presiding officer of a closed meeting may, after its adjournment, report to council the decisions made at the meeting. During the closed portion of the meeting in question, council for the township passed a resolution to retain a consultant to conduct an organizational study of the municipality. The open meeting minutes did not record any reporting back of the in camera proceedings, other than a resolution that the “meeting be reopened to the public.” The Ombudsman found that the township’s practice of not reporting back failed to provide even a general idea of what was discussed in camera. The Ombudsman recommended that the township report back after closed sessions and provide general information about what occurred in camera.

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 to discuss airport fee negotiations and related airport upgrades. The Ombudsman found that the commission’s procedure by-law failed to reflect amendments to the open meeting exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001 and included reasons for meeting in camera that are not consistent with the exceptions found in the Act. The Ombudsman recommended that the commission update its procedure by-law to accurately reflect the closed meeting exceptions found in the Municipal Act, 2001.

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 to discuss airport fee negotiations and related airport upgrades. The Ombudsman found that the commission’s procedure by-law failed to reflect amendments to the open meeting exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001 and included reasons for meeting in camera that are not consistent with the exceptions found in the Act. The Ombudsman recommended that the commission update its procedure by-law to accurately reflect the closed meeting exceptions found in the Municipal Act, 2001.

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 to discuss airport fee negotiations and related airport upgrades. The Ombudsman found that the commission’s procedure by-law failed to reflect amendments to the open meeting exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001 and included reasons for meeting in camera that are not consistent with the exceptions found in the Act. The Ombudsman recommended that the commission update its procedure by-law to accurately reflect the closed meeting exceptions found in the Municipal Act, 2001.

Township of Hornepayne

December 14, 201614 December 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Nuclear Waste Community Liaison Committee for the Township of Hornepayne. Notice of the meeting was not provided. The Ombudsman found that the municipality’s procedure by-law failed to provide specific notice provisions for committees and did not include all of the exceptions to the open meeting rules contained in the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to accurately reflect the closed meeting exceptions and provide notice of committee meetings.

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.

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

August 05, 201605 August 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Walkerton Business Improvement Area (BIA) for the Municipality of Brockton. The BIA had adopted the municipality’s procedure by-law. The Ombudsman found that the BIA’s procedure by-law was deficient as it did not account for the BIA’s specific procedures and did not include recent changes to the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman recommended that the BIA update its procedure by-law to ensure that it reflects the specific practices of the board and the closed meeting rules.

City of Brockville

July 19, 201619 July 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Ontario Provincial Police Contact Adhoc Committee for the City of Brockville. The Ombudsman found that the municipality had failed to amend its procedure by-law since 1994 and did not require notice for all of the municipality’s meetings. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality engage in a comprehensive review of its procedure by-law and update it to reflect the current state of the Municipal Act, 2001.

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.

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 closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Central Huron.  The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to audio record or video record the session in accordance with the requirements of its procedure by-law.  The Ombudsman recommended that council ensure compliance with its own procedure by-law and immediately begin audio recording or video recording its closed meetings.

City of Niagara Falls

March 05, 201505 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls to discuss possibly partnering with a post-secondary institution to apply for development funding. The Ombudsman found a number of issues with the municipality’s procedure by-law. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to reflect updated notice provisions for regular and special council meetings, public posting of agendas for open and closed sessions, and council’s practice of meeting at 5:00 p.m. for regular meetings.

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.

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.

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 Port Colborne (Niagara Central Airport Commission)

September 20, 201320 September 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Niagara Central Airport Commission. The Ombudsman found that the Niagara Central Airport Commission is a local board subject to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman recommended that the Commission enact a procedure by-law governing meetings in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001.

City of Welland (Niagara Central Airport Commission)

September 20, 201320 September 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Niagara Central Airport Commission. The Ombudsman found that the Niagara Central Airport Commission is a local board subject to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman recommended that the Commission enact a procedure by-law governing meetings in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001.

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.

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.  

Township of Russell

September 02, 201102 September 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Minor Variance Committee for the Township of Russell. The Ombudsman found that the Minor Variance Committee is a local board for the purposes of the open meeting provisions. Therefore, the Minor Variance Committee must comply with the open meeting rules, including having a procedure by-law that provides for public notice of meetings. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality adhere to the Municipal Act, 2001 by implementing a procedure by-law for the Minor Variance Committee.

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 Mattawa

January 11, 201111 January 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed several closed meetings held by the Ad Hoc Heritage Committee for the Town of Mattawa. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to include provisions addressing public notice, format of meeting agendas, and procedures for emergency discussions. He also recommended that the procedure by-law accurately reflect the closed meeting exceptions found in the Municipal Act, 2001.

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.