May 22, 201822 May 2018
In anticipation of council considering appointing a closed meeting investigator, the Town of Petrolia added a $250 complaint fee to its fees by-law. The open meeting law enforcement scheme is premised on a willing public coming forward to assist in ensuring that transparency is maintained at the municipal level. Charging a fee for complaining is entirely inconsistent with the primary intent of the open meeting provisions to foster democratic legitimacy at the local level. The Ombudsman encouraged the municipality to continue to permit members of the public to complain about alleged improperly closed meetings without charging a complaint fee.