October 04, 201904 October 2019
The Ombudsman found that the February 9, 2019, meeting of the City of Hamilton’s City Manager Recruitment Steering Committee was illegally closed to the public when members of the public were prevented from attending the open portions of the meeting. While the public was denied entrance to the meeting by staff at the venue without the city’s knowledge, the Ombudsman found it was the city’s responsibility to ensure that the public could attend and observe the meetings.
July 04, 201904 July 2019
The Ombudsman reviewed complaints that the doors to Hamilton city hall were locked during part of a council meeting, and that the doors were barricaded during part of a committee meeting. The city acknowledged that the doors were locked and blocked during the meetings, and took prompt steps to ensure the doors were open and accessible once the issue was flagged to city staff. The city also subsequently adopted a formal procedure to ensure staff check that all meetings in city hall have ended before locking or blocking access to entrances. The Ombudsman commended the city for adopting the procedure, and encouraged it to ensure all staff are informed of it going forward.
December 06, 201806 December 2018
The Ombudsman reviewed two meetings held by council for the Township of Tehkummah. During the meeting, it was alleged that the doors to the municipal building where the meeting was being held were locked and remained locked until the meeting was over. The Ombudsman was not provided with any evidence that could substantiate the allegation that the doors were locked. The Ombudsman noted that in future, the municipality should take steps to develop a clear policy on when the doors to the municipal building are locked and train its staff accordingly.
November 30, 201730 November 2017
The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by council for the Township of Russell where it was alleged that the public entrance to the municipality’s town hall was locked during a portion of the meeting. The Ombudsman found that although the meeting was intended to be open to the public, a locked exterior door prevented members of the public from accessing council chambers for the first half of the meeting. As a result, the meeting was closed to the public and the public’s right to observe municipal government in process was frustrated, contrary to the open meeting rules.
February 24, 201624 February 2016
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of London that was disrupted by protesters. Members of the public were removed from the meeting and security staff locked the building doors. However, the doors were not unlocked once the council meeting resumed. The Ombudsman found that the doors were locked during parts of an open meeting and therefore, the meeting was improperly closed to the public.
February 23, 201623 February 2016
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Fort Erie where it was alleged that a locked door prevented the public from accessing the meeting. The Ombudsman found that council thought the meeting was open. However, a locked door effectively prevented the public from accessing the meeting. As a result, the meeting was improperly closed to the public.