business improvement area (BIA)

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City of Owen Sound (Downtown Improvement Area)

October 02, 201802 October 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the board of directors for the Owen Sound Downtown Improvement Area to discuss its proposed response to an open letter regarding the board’s meeting practices, relying on the personal matters exception. While in closed session, the members of the board did discuss some personal opinions about the author of the open letter, however the Ombudsman found that this wasn’t the focus of the discussion. Rather, the board primarily discussed how it should respond to the issues raised in the open letter. The Ombudsman found that this discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

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.

Town of Fort Erie (Ridgeway BIA)

April 03, 201703 April 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Board of Management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the Town of Fort Erie to discuss the conduct of an employee of the BIA. During the meeting, the board agreed by consensus to take certain steps with respect to the employee. The Ombudsman found that the decision was improper as it was neither procedural nor a direction to staff.

Town of Fort Erie (Ridgeway BIA)

April 03, 201703 April 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Board of Management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the Town of Fort Erie to discuss the conduct of an employee of the BIA. No minutes were recorded for the meeting until weeks later by a member of the board. The Ombudsman recommended that to ensure an accurate record of proceedings, minutes should be recorded during the closed meeting.

Town of Fort Erie (Ridgeway BIA)

April 03, 201703 April 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Board of Management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area in the Town of Fort Erie. The board met in camera to discuss the conduct of an employee of the board. The board did not cite a closed meeting exception. The Ombudsman found that while the board did not rely on the personal matters exception, the discussion fit within that exception.

Town of Fort Erie (Ridgeway BIA)

April 03, 201703 April 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the board of management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the Town of Fort Erie. During the investigation, the Ombudsman became aware that the members of the board had never been provided with training on the open meeting rules or the board’s obligations under the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality provide all members of its local boards and committees with training on the open meeting rules.

Town of Fort Erie (Ridgeway BIA)

April 03, 201703 April 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Board of Management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the Town of Fort Erie, which met in camera to discuss the conduct of an employee of the BIA. The board did not cite a closed meeting exception. The discussion was about an individual employee in the context of their employment relationship to the BIA and included the employee’s job performance. The Ombudsman found that while the board did not rely on the labour relations exception, the discussion fit within that exception.

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

February 13, 201713 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by members of the board of directors for the Walkerton Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the Municipality of Brockton to discuss one board member’s plans to circulate a petition. The Ombudsman found that the Walkerton BIA is subject to the open meeting rules as a local board. The Ombudsman found that a meeting did not occur for the purposes of the Municipal Act, 2001 because an insufficient number of members met to constitute a quorum.

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

February 13, 201713 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the board of directors for the Walkerton Business Improvement Area (BIA) to discuss a staff report and accompanying legal opinion which responded to issues raised in a letter written by the solicitor of a local business owner. The meeting was closed under the exception for litigation or potential litigation. The Ombudsman found that the Walkerton BIA is subject to the open meeting rules as a local board. The board had reason to believe that the local business owner would initiate legal proceedings if he were unsatisfied with the board’s actions. The Ombudsman found that the board’s discussion fit within the exception for litigation or potential litigation.

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

February 13, 201713 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of a quorum of council for the Municipality of Brockton at an information session held under the Drainage Act. The purpose of the meeting was to provide affected residents information about matters related to an ongoing drainage petition. The Ombudsman found that the Drainage Act does not contain any provisions allowing council to hold a closed meeting while attending an information session. The municipality’s compliance with the procedural requirements for the Drainage Act does not relieve it from also complying with the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001.

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

February 13, 201713 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Brockton to discuss a matter related to the legality of the Walkerton Business Improvement Area’s (BIA) practices and structure. During the meeting, council considered a letter written by the solicitor of a local business owner raising concerns about the BIA and formally requesting that the BIA take corrective action. The Ombudsman found that litigation was a realistic possibility. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

August 05, 201605 August 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the board of directors for the Walkerton Business Improvement Area to discuss a staff report and accompanying legal opinion that responded to issues raised in a letter written by the solicitor of a local business owner. The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. The board had reason to believe that the local business owner would initiate legal proceedings if he were unsatisfied with the board’s actions. The Ombudsman found that the board’s discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.

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.

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

August 05, 201605 August 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Walkerton Business Improvement Association (BIA) for the Municipality of Brockton. The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. The Ombudsman found that the resolution to proceed in camera did not provide any information about the subject matter of the discussion other than the exception authorizing the closed session. The Ombudsman encouraged the BIA to ensure that resolutions to enter closed session provide the public with a general description of the subject matter to be considered in camera, while balancing the need to protect confidential and sensitive information from disclosure.

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.

Town of Halton Hills (Acton BIA)

September 17, 201317 September 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the board for the Acton Business Improvement Area (BIA) to discuss leasing new office space. Although not relied on by the BIA, the Ombudsman found that since the discussion was about a pending lease and the terms of the lease that were open for negotiation, the discussion fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.