June 21, 201921 June 2019
The City of Hamilton’s General Issues Committee met in closed session to discuss the municipality’s contribution to the local Canadian Football League team’s bid for the Grey Cup championship game. The committee cited the exception for information belonging to the municipality when it moved in camera. The city claimed that the information discussed was a trade secret because it included details about how the city allocates funding to large-scale events generally. The city also claimed that the information had monetary value because if the amount of the city’s contribution was disclosed, it would negatively affect the city’s competitive position for the Grey Cup bid and other large-scale events in the future. The Ombudsman found that the information was not a trade secret but qualified as financial information. The Ombudsman also found that the information belonged to the municipality. However, the Ombudsman found that the while the city may suffer economic loss if the information were disclosed, there was no indication that the information itself had any monetary value. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the exception for information belonging to the muncipality.
April 19, 201819 April 2018
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Pelham to discuss an external consultant’s report to council regarding municipal financial information and the conduct and performance of a previous employee. While in closed session the treasurer presented information to council about the municipality’s financial status. In most cases, this type of information would not fit within any of the exceptions to the open meeting rules and should be discussed in open session. However, in this case the Ombudsman found that the information provided by the treasurer was sufficiently necessary to fully explore the issues covered by the legal advice and therefore, appropriately discussed in closed session under the solicitor-client privilege exception.
February 04, 201604 February 2016
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of St.-Charles to discuss a draft financial report from its auditors. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. The auditors gave a presentation to council about the municipality’s finances. The Ombudsman found that there may be circumstances when a discussion about a municipality’s finances fits within the security of the property exception. For example, cases of fraud or theft of municipal property, or threats. However, the auditor’s presentation contained information about the municipality’s finances, but did not include a discussion of any potential loss or damage to that property. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.