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City of St. Catharines

February 14, 201914 February 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of St. Catharines to discuss a proposed staff position, government relations adviser. The meeting was closed under the negotiations exception. During the discussion, there were passing references to municipal projects involving the provincial government that could potentially become part of the new position’s portfolio of responsibilities. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the negotiations exception because it focused on determining the role and nature of a new staff position, including employment details, rather than specifically formulating a detailed course of action with respect to current or future negotiations involving municipal-provincial projects. In addition, the discussion did not involve any information that could undermine the city’s bargaining position in future negotiations.

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 to discuss payment of remuneration for volunteer firefighters and conditions of employment for firefighters. The discussion related to the relationship between the municipality and its firefighters. Although not cited by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

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 to discuss a communication protocol between municipal staff and the fire department. During the discussion, council considered the appointment of an individual firefighter as communications officer without council approval. The Ombudsman found that the information related to the employment duties of a firefighter and the reporting relationship amongst municipal staff. Accordingly, although not cited by the municipality, the discussion fit within labour relations exception.

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 relying on the personal matters exception to discuss payment of remuneration for volunteer firefighters. During the closed session, council identified specific firefighters by name and discussed whether they had satisfied their employment conditions. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

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 relying on the personal matters exception to discuss a communications protocol between municipal staff and the fire department. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not include any personal information. Accordingly, the discussion did not fit into the personal matters exception.

Township of Tehkummah

April 18, 201818 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of council for the Township of Tehkummah, relying on the personal matters exception to discuss an ongoing third-party workplace investigation relating to an employee.   Council’s discussion centered on the employment status of an identifiable staff member.  While not cited by the township, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labor relations exception.

Township of Tehkummah

April 18, 201818 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of council for the Township of Tehkummah, relying on the personal matters exception to discuss an ongoing third-party workplace investigation relating to an employee.  During the discussion, council deliberated about whether the best course of action would be to suspend the staff member pending the completion of the workplace investigation.  The Ombudsman found that a discussion to change employment status or job performance of an individual staff member constitutes personal information.  Accordingly, the discussion fit within the personal matters exceptions.

Township of North Huron

January 09, 201809 January 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of North Huron to discuss fire department personnel issues. While in closed session, council discussed a legal opinion related to the fire department personnel. After council discussed this legal advice, approximately 40 firefighters entered the closed session and, through two representatives, spoke with council about various shared concerns. These concerns included comments about identified individuals and the department’s work conditions. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception because the conduct discussed went beyond the employees’ professional role.

Town of Georgina

November 23, 201723 November 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Georgina to discuss an organizational review of certain departments within the municipality’s administration as part of a larger service delivery review. The meeting was closed using the personal matters exception. While in camera, council discussed the performance of particular employees in relation to the restructuring options contained in a staff report. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Georgina

November 23, 201723 November 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Georgina to discuss an organizational review of certain departments within the municipality’s administration as part of a larger service delivery review. While in camera, council discussed the performance of particular employees in relation to the restructuring options contained in a staff report. While not cited by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations exception.

City of Elliot Lake

August 09, 201709 August 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake to discuss a motion to rescind a previous resolution regarding the recruitment of a chief administrative officer (CAO). The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. During the closed session council discussed several individuals in the context of their employment, however, the discussion also included information about these employees that went beyond their professional roles. During the discussion council also discussed the desired qualities of a CAO. The Ombudsman found that while normally, general discussion of the qualities of a CAO would not fall within the personal matters exception, in this case it would not be reasonable for council to parse its discussion. Therefore, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Greater Sudbury

January 20, 201720 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by council for the City of Greater Sudbury that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss transit tickets in the municipality. During the discussion, council received a third-party investigation report that included information about employee negligence and conduct. Council also received written legal advice from the municipality’s solicitor about the report. The Ombudsman found that the discussions fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of Amherstburg

November 20, 201520 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss health and safety concerns raised by municipal employees. The municipality retained a labour consultant to provide advice on the complaints. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception because council discussed the conditions of work for specific employees, as well as the general work environment for all employees in a specific department, and decided to terminate the employment of two employees.

Town of Amherstburg

November 20, 201520 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss an external investigator’s report into health and safety concerns raised by municipal employees. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. Council discussed the conduct of a staff member and discussed how to address the issues raised in the report. During the discussion, the external investigator provided general information about health and safety requirements, but this advice was interspersed with comments about specific individual employees. The Ombudsman found that it was unrealistic to expect council to parse this portion of the discussion to exclude references to related or background information. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Amherstburg

November 20, 201520 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss details of complaints by named municipal staff against other staff members.  The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. The complaints included allegations of harassment and health and safety concerns. The Ombudsman found that the information discussed went beyond the staff members’ professional duties and included personal concerns about their work environment. Therefore, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception. 

Township of Russell

November 02, 201502 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss a staff member who was a candidate for the position of deputy clerk. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. When council resumed the open session, it appointed the individual to the position of deputy clerk. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception since it identified the candidate by name and covered the individual’s employment history, job performance, and salary information.

Town of South Bruce Peninsula

October 06, 201506 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the performance and conduct of a staff member. Typically, the personal matters exception applies to discussions about an individual in his or her personal capacity, rather than his or her professional, business, or official capacity. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion related to the individual’s conduct and therefore fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by council for the City of Elliot Lake, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the recruitment of a new chief administrative officer (CAO). The discussions involved changes to the current CAO’s contract and extending the service of the current CAO. The Ombudsman found that the information discussed by council during the meetings related to specific terms of an identified employee’s contract, including salary. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the recruitment of a new chief administrative officer (CAO). During the closed meeting, council discussed an identifiable individual who had submitted an application for the CAO position. The discussion involved the contents of the application, and included expressing opinions about the individual’s qualifications. The discussion also involved third-party information that was included in the application. The Ombudsman found that the discussion involved personal information about the applicant and third-party information. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed closed meetings held by council for the City of Elliot Lake to discuss the recruitment of a new chief administrative officer (CAO). The discussions involved changes to the current CAO’s contract and extending the service of the current CAO. The Ombudsman found that the information discussed by council during the meetings related to specific terms of an identified employee’s contract, including salary. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations.

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 staff conduct related to a future university campus located in the downtown area of the municipality. The discussion also included questions about whether the mayor and certain staff members had complied with their professional obligations. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion did not include topics that were inherently personal in nature. Rather, questions about staff conduct were general in nature or about individuals in their professional capacities. Therefore, council’s discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Municipality of South Huron

March 02, 201502 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of South Huron that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss a number of staffing issues. The discussion included issues of staff performance reviews, reorganization, staff conduct, discipline, and the salaries of specific employees. The Ombudsman found that these matters are considered personal information for the purposes of the Municipal Act, 2001 and therefore they fit within the personal matters exception.

Municipality of South Huron

March 02, 201502 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of South Huron to discuss an identified employee’s disagreement with the application of the municipality’s personnel policy. During the discussion, council received a legal opinion on the matter. Although not relied upon by council, the Ombudsman found that the portion of the discussion related to the solicitor’s advice fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Town of Amherstburg

December 15, 201415 December 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the selection process for a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Council discussed the qualifications of an identifiable individual who applied for the position and expressed opinions about the individual. Throughout the discussion, the municipality’s solicitor provided advice. The Ombudsman found that the parts of the discussion related to the solicitor’s advice fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Municipality of Whitestone

November 18, 201418 November 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Whitestone to discuss an organizational review. The closed meeting relied on the personal matters exception. Council’s discussion included specific information about the performance of identifiable individual employees and the retirement of two employees. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the personal matters exception because it related to the performance of identifiable individual employees.

Township of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan

August 18, 201418 August 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for Township of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan to discuss a former employee. The closed meeting relied on the personal matters exception. Council members expressed personal opinions about the individual’s behaviour and discussed actions the municipality should take to address a particular issue. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Municipality of Lambton Shores

January 28, 201328 January 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Lambton Shores to discuss the performance of an identifiable member of staff. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. The discussion included an examination of the employee’s job performance, as well as personal views and opinions expressed about this individual. The Ombudsman found that the information discussed qualified as personal information. Therefore, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Town of Mattawa

January 11, 201111 January 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Mattawa, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the salary of a staff member. The Ombudsman found that an individual’s salary, as opposed to a salary range for a position, may qualify as personal information. Therefore, the discussion fit within the exception.