July 14, 202214 July 2022
The Ombudsman received a complaint that the Governance Committee for the Niagara Falls Downtown Business Improvement Area failed to indicate in its January 12, 2022 meeting agenda that it would proceed in camera. The Ombudsman found that the Committee was entitled to proceed in camera because there are no specific notice requirements outlined in the Municipal Act, 2001 or in the BIA’s by-laws for in camera meetings or discussion items.
April 17, 202017 April 2020
The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Township of Russell via electronic participation. Members were permitted to participate electronically and be counted toward quorum as a state of emergency had been declared pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The Ombudsman commended the Township for taking steps to ensure members of the public were advised of how to observe the live broadcast of the meeting and urged all municipalities to ensure electronic meetings are accessible to the public.
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.
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.
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.
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.