financial information

Summaries List

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Township of Lanark Highlands

June 20, 202220 June 2022

The Ombudsman investigated a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Lanark Highlands on December 7, 2021. Council proceeded in camera to discuss the performance of an individual in the context of their employment with the Township. Council also discussed the Township’s finances, which would typically occur in open session. However, the Ombudsman found that it would have been impractical for council to parse its discussion of the Township’s finances from its discussion about the performance of an employee. The Ombudsman found that council did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001.

Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission

June 09, 202209 June 2022

The Ombudsman reviewed a complaint that the Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it went in camera during a meeting on September 27, 2021. The Ombudsman found that the Commission’s discussion about an agreement with a client was permissible under paragraph 239(2)(k). However, the Ombudsman found that there was no evidence that the same exception applied to its discussions about an agreement with municipalities and financial information.

Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission

June 09, 202209 June 2022

The Ombudsman reviewed a complaint that the Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it went in camera during a meeting on September 27, 2021. The Ombudsman found that the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual did not apply to discussions about financial information.

Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission

June 09, 202209 June 2022

The Ombudsman reviewed a complaint that the Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it went in camera during a meeting on September 27, 2021. The Ombudsman found that a discussion about negotiations with a client could be parsed from discussions about an agreement with municipalities and financial information.

Bruce County

May 20, 202220 May 2022

The Ombudsman considered the applicability of the exception for information supplied in confidence by a third party to Bruce County Executive Committee’s in camera discussion on January 10, 2019. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within this exception to the open meeting rules because none of the information discussed fell into the categories listed in s. 239(2)(i) of the Municipal Act, 2001 such as financial or commercial information.

Town of South Bruce Peninsula

October 14, 202114 October 2021

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula improperly met in closed session to receive a delegation on March 16, 2021, contrary to the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman’s review determined that council received and discussed detailed information from a third party company regarding that company’s development plans, expected profits, and intended use of proprietary technology. We were told that the third party specifically wished to discuss this commercial information in private because it did not want to prejudice a pending land transaction or alert competitors to the proprietary technology it intended to rely on to create a profitable business in a specific area. The Ombudsman found this closed session discussion was permissible under section 239(2)(i) of the Municipal Act as council discussed information supplied in confidence by a third party that, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to significantly prejudice the competitive position of the business and significantly interfere with an ongoing land transaction.

Municipality of St.-Charles

October 03, 201903 October 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed the in camera session of the meeting of the Committee of the Whole for the Municipality of St.-Charles, in which documents and recommendations about the municipality’s finances were discussed. The council chose to close this discussion under the personal matters exception because they anticipated discussions about the broader financial issues would lead to discussions about the conduct of identified employees, and believed council would not be able to separate the two discussions. The Ombudsman found discussions of individual staff fell within the personal matters exception, however, discussions of broader financial issues did not. The Ombudsman found the council could have separated the two discussions and proceeded from open into close as soon as broad discussions of the financial documents concluded and discussions of identifiable staff commenced.

Municipality of St.-Charles

October 03, 201903 October 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed the in camera session of the meeting of the Committee of the Whole for the Municipality of St.-Charles, in which documents and recommendations about the municipality’s finances were discussed. The council chose to close this discussion under the personal matters exception because they anticipated discussions about the broader financial issues would lead to discussions about identifiable individuals, and believed council would not be able to separate the two discussions. The Ombudsman found discussions of individual staff fell within the personal matters exception, however, discussions of broader financial issues did not. The Ombudsman found that it would have been possible for council to parse the two discussions. Council could have proceeded from open into close as soon as broad discussions of the financial documents concluded and discussions of identifiable staff commenced.

Municipality of St.-Charles

October 03, 201903 October 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed the in camera session of the meeting of the Committee of the Whole for the Municipality of St.-Charles, in which documents and recommendations about the municipality’s finances were discussed. The council discussed a document containing a watermark indicating that it was “supplied in confidence” to the municipality by a consultant. The Ombudsman found the document summarized and analyzed information about the municipality, and was marked “in confidence” because it was created by a third party and given to the municipality. Section 239(2)(i) is intended to protect confidential information about a third party. Therefore, the discussion of this report marked “in confidence” did not fit within the information supplied in confidence exception.

Municipality of St.-Charles

October 03, 201903 October 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed the in camera session of the meeting of the Committee of the Whole for the Municipality of St.-Charles, in which documents and recommendations about the municipality’s finances were discussed. The Ombudsman found the exception does not apply to discussions of the finances of the municipality, therefore, the discussions at this meeting did not fit within the exception.

Municipality of St.-Charles

October 03, 201903 October 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed the in camera session of the meeting of the Committee of the Whole for the Municipality of St.-Charles, in which documents and recommendations about the municipality’s finances were discussed. The Ombudsman found that information provided to council by staff about a municipality’s finances generally does not fit within any of the exceptions to open meeting rules. Therefore, the discussions at this meeting did not fit within the exception.

City of Hamilton

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 municipality.

Town of Pelham

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.

Municipality of St.-Charles

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.