litigation

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Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

February 13, 201713 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Brockton to discuss a matter related to the legality of the Walkerton Business Improvement Area’s (BIA) practices and structure. During the meeting, council considered a letter written by the solicitor of a local business owner raising concerns about the BIA and formally requesting that the BIA take corrective action. The Ombudsman found that litigation was a realistic possibility. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.

Township of Georgian Bay

January 19, 201719 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Georgian Bay to discuss a shoreline structure that did not meet the requirements of the zoning by-law. The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. The municipality had received verbal threats of legal action from neighbouring land owners if the municipality did not enforce the zoning by-law. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception since legal action was a reasonable prospect.

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

August 05, 201605 August 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the board of directors for the Walkerton Business Improvement Area to discuss a staff report and accompanying legal opinion that responded to issues raised in a letter written by the solicitor of a local business owner. The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. The board had reason to believe that the local business owner would initiate legal proceedings if he were unsatisfied with the board’s actions. The Ombudsman found that the board’s discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.

Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh

April 10, 201410 April 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh to discuss a third party’s discharge of water onto a municipal road allowance. The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. The discharge of water caused damage to municipal property. The purpose of the closed session was to discuss the possibility of litigation to address the damage. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception because there was more than a suspicion or mere speculation that litigation would occur.

City of Timmins

April 09, 201409 April 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Timmins that relied on the litigation or potential litigation exception to discuss upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant. Council received an update from staff relating to the upgrade and, based on this information, considered taking legal action against a specific party connected with the project. The Ombudsman found that communications prepared by a prospective litigant, even in the absence of a lawyer, may fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit with in the cited exception because council was not merely speculating about the possibility of future litigation, but contemplated legal action against specific parties.

Town of Carleton Place

January 16, 201416 January 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Carleton Place to discuss litigation filed against the municipality regarding a development/permit dispute. Council met with the municipality’s solicitor and received legal advice about the litigation. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception, even though it was not relied on by the municipality, because council was discussing a response to active litigation.

Town of Fort Erie

January 09, 201409 January 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Fort Erie to discuss an agreement of purchase and sale for the Crystal Beach Gateway Project. The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. The municipality’s solicitor was present during the meeting. At the time of the meeting, there was a pending appeal before the Land Registry Tribunal with respect to absolute title on the property. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.

Township of Bonfield

October 30, 201330 October 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Personnel Committee for the Township of Bonfield to discuss an ongoing hearing before the Ontario Labour Relations Board. The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. The committee received legal advice from the municipality’s solicitor regarding the hearing. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception because the committee was discussing ongoing litigation before a tribunal.

Township of North Dumfries

October 23, 201323 October 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of North Dumfries to discuss matters before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. Council received an update on the matters from the municipality’s solicitor. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception because council discussed two active appeals before a tribunal.

Town of South Bruce Peninsula

June 10, 201310 June 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula that relied on the litigation or potential litigation exception to discuss ongoing litigation involving the municipality. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception because council was receiving updates on active litigation.

Town of Larder Lake

April 16, 201316 April 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Larder Lake that relied on the litigation or potential litigation exception to discuss legal correspondence about a building permit infraction. The legal correspondence included a threat of legal action against the municipality. Council considered taking legal action in relation to the matter and provided instructions to legal counsel in order to respond to the letter. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.

City of Greater Sudbury

February 14, 201314 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Greater Sudbury to discuss an ongoing appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. During the meeting, council received information from staff related to the appeal that might affect the municipality’s response to the appeal. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception because council was discussing an ongoing appeal before a tribunal.

City of Greater Sudbury

February 14, 201314 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Greater Sudbury to discuss a pending appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) of a decision of council to deny a severance application. The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. During the meeting, council received information from staff relating to the upcoming OMB hearing. Council also received correspondence from a ministry with respect to the ministry’s position on the severance application. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.

Town of Midland

February 11, 201311 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Planning and Development Committee for the Town of Midland that relied on the litigation or potential litigation exception to discuss a zoning dispute. The committee was considering a lawyer’s letter that identified specific legal action that would be taken if the zoning matter was not resolved. The Ombudsman found that the committee perceived that there was a real possibility of litigation based on the letter and was considering how to respond to the potential for legal action. Therefore, the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.

Township of Woolwich

January 31, 201331 January 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Woolwich to discuss a proposed aggregate pit. During the meeting, the municipality’s solicitor provided an update to council on the status of mediation before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) concerning the aggregate pit, and council reviewed draft minutes of settlement. While not relied upon by the municipality, the Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Township of Woolwich

January 31, 201331 January 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Woolwich that relied on the litigation or potential litigation exception to discuss a proposed aggregate pit. During the meeting, the municipality’s solicitor provided an update to council on the status of mediation before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) concerning the aggregate pit, and council reviewed draft minutes of settlement. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.

Town of Kearney

January 17, 201117 January 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Kearney that relied on the litigation or potential litigation exception to discuss a lawyer’s letter that threatened litigation over road closures. The Ombudsman found that there was a real possibility that litigation over the road closures might occur. Therefore, the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception.