fire services

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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. During the closed session, council discussed legal advice previously obtained from the municipality’s solicitor. Accordingly, although not cited by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the solicitor-client advice 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 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 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.

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 personnel issues. This occurred during an ongoing dispute between the firefighters and the township. Approximately 40 firefighters entered the closed session and, through two representatives, spoke with council about various shared concerns. The Ombudsman found that nothing in the Municipal Act, 2001 prohibits municipal councils from inviting large groups to attend in camera discussions. However, this practice has the potential to create suspicion in the eyes of the public and may, in practice, undermine the confidentiality of the proceedings. The Ombudsman recommended, as a best practice, that council refrain from receiving delegations in closed session and instead have staff carry out these negotiations before reporting to council and seeking direction.

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 personnel issues. This occurred during an ongoing dispute between the firefighters and the township. 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 environment. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception because council discussed the firefighters’ general work environment during an ongoing employment dispute.

City of Sault Ste. Marie

August 02, 201602 August 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Sault Ste. Marie to discuss a proposed plan to realign fire services and EMS. The meeting was closed under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. During the closed session, the fire chief gave a presentation to council that covered the effect of the realignment on the local union, as well as a number of other repercussions. The Ombudsman found that the portion of council’s discussion about the local firefighters’ union fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that other topics covered in the presentation, such as risk management, effect on service levels, and financial savings generally do not fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. However, the Ombudsman found that those topics were not discrete and were included to inform council’s discussion about labour relations and were not required to be parsed from the discussion. Therefore, council’s discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

City of Sault Ste. Marie

August 02, 201602 August 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Sault Ste. Marie to discuss a proposed plan to realign fire services and EMS. The meeting was closed under the labour relations and employee negotiations exception. During the closed session, the fire chief gave a presentation to council that covered the effects of the realignment on the local union, and a number of other repercussions. The Ombudsman found that the portion of council’s discussion about the local firefighters’ union fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Ombudsman found that other topics covered in the presentation, such as risk management, effects on service levels, and financial savings generally do not fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. However, the Ombudsman found that those topics were not discrete and were included to inform council’s discussion about labour relations, and were not required to be parsed from the discussion. Therefore, council’s discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

City of London

April 24, 201424 April 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee for the City of London to discuss the municipality’s fire services budget. The meeting was closed under the labour relations or employee negotiations exception. The Committee’s discussion focused on confidential labour relations and other employment-related matters with respect to the fire services department. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the labour relations or employee negotiations exception.

Township of Morris-Turnberry

August 30, 201230 August 2012
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Morris-Turnberry. Council for the township met in closed session to discuss firefighting options for the municipality. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. The Ombudsman noted that the security of the property exception is narrowly construed. Council’s discussion did not relate to any specific concerns about the security of municipal property. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.