Report back

KEY SUMMARIES

City of Oshawa

July 19, 201619 July 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Oshawa to discuss a proposed merger between a municipally-controlled corporation and another corporation. The council did not report back in open session following the closed meeting. The Ombudsman found that by not reporting back after the closed session, the municipality failed to provide members of the public who may have been present with a general idea of the closed session discussion. The Ombudsman recommended that council adopt the best practice of reporting back in open session.

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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 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.

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 for an area in the county. The Ombudsman noted that there was some confusion about council’s direction to staff during its closed session. The Ombudsman found that this confusion may have been avoided had council reported back in open session its direction to staff during closed session. The Ombudsman recommended that despite not being required by the Municipal Act, it is a best practice for council to report back in camera discussions in open session.

City of Niagara Falls

November 03, 201603 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls to discuss whether the municipality should partner with a post-secondary institution to apply for development funding. The Ombudsman noted although reporting back is not a requirement of the Municipal Act, 2001, council passed a resolution in open session that provided the public with information about the discussion held in-camera.

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

August 05, 201605 August 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Walkerton Business Improvement Area (BIA) to discuss changes to its by-laws, relying on the litigation or potential litigation exception. The Ombudsman recommended as a best practice that the BIA report back after closed sessions and provide general information about what occurred in camera. The Ombudsman noted that in some instances public reporting may consist of the information provided in the resolution authorizing the closed session along with any decisions or directions given to staff in camera, while at other times the report back may provide considerable information regarding the in camera discussion.

City of Brockville

July 19, 201619 July 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the OPP Contact Adhoc Committee for the City of Brockville. Following its closed session discussion, the committee did not report back in open session about the in camera discussion. The Ombudsman found that committee members were unfamiliar with the practice of reporting back. The Ombudsman recommended that as a best practice, the committee should report back after closed sessions and provide general information about what occurred in camera.

City of Oshawa

July 19, 201619 July 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Oshawa to discuss a proposed merger between a municipally-controlled corporation and another corporation. The council did not report back in open session following the closed meeting. The Ombudsman found that by not reporting back after the closed session, the municipality failed to provide members of the public who may have been present with a general idea of the closed session discussion. The Ombudsman recommended that council adopt the best practice of reporting back in open session.

Village of Casselman

January 29, 201629 January 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed several closed meetings held by council for the Village of Casselman. The Ombudsman found that in one instance council did not report back on a closed session until the next council meeting. However, for the majority of the meetings investigated, the Ombudsman found that council passed a resolution in open session following each closed session that reflected its in camera discussions and functioned as a report back.

Township of Bonfield

November 23, 201523 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by the Public Works Committee of the Township of Bonfield. The committee did not report back following its closed sessions and told our Office that it generally did not observe the practice of reporting back. The Ombudsman noted that the committee’s current practice of not reporting back failed to provide the public with a general idea of the in camera discussion or any information about directions to staff made in closed session.

Township of Woolwich

August 10, 201510 August 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed several closed meetings held by council for the Town of Woolwich. The Ombudsman found that despite council passing resolutions in open session resulting from in camera discussions, council did not report back on other matters discussed during the closed session. The Ombudsman recommended that council report back publicly in a general manner on what occurred 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 encouraged council to report back on what occurs in camera in a general manner. The Ombudsman noted that in some cases, public reporting consists of a general discussion in open session of subjects considered in closed session along with directions, decisions and resolutions made in camera. In other cases, however, the nature of the discussion might allow for considerable information about the closed session to be provided publicly.

Municipality of Magnetawan

June 24, 201524 June 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by council for the Municipality of Magnetawan. The Ombudsman found that council did not report back in open session after meeting in closed session because the public rarely attended council meetings. The Ombudsman recommended that council follow a practice of reporting back publicly after closed sessions even where the public does not attend the open portion of the meeting.

Township of Baldwin

December 09, 201409 December 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Baldwin to discuss the qualifications of candidates for the municipal works foreman position. The Ombudsman found that as a general practice council did not report back in open session, as council stated that members of the public were not present after an in camera session. The Ombudsman recommended that council publicly report back on in camera discussions despite the fact that members of the public are not usually present.

Town of Mattawa

January 11, 201111 January 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed several closed meetings held by council for the Town of Mattawa. As part of the Ombudsman’s findings, it was noted that the municipality did not have a general practice of reporting back publicly after the closed session. The Ombudsman recommended as a best practice that council provide a general description of matters discussed in camera.

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 council did not report back in open session about the in camera discussion. He recommended that the municipality report back publicly to the extent that is appropriate.