meeting (by email)

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City of Hamilton

February 22, 201922 February 2019

Members of council for the City of Hamilton did not contravene the open meeting rules in the Municipal Act, 2001 when they exchanged emails regarding a vacant council seat in June 2018. The new definition of “meeting” in the Act requires that a quorum be present, such that an exchange of emails cannot be considered a meeting subject to the open meeting rules. In the interest of openness and transparency, municipal councils should continue to avoid conducting business outside of a formal meeting.

Township of Alfred and Plantagenet

May 10, 201710 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a series of emails sent by council members for the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet to each other. Individual members of council provided their approval over email to proceed with a contribution in support of a grant application. The Ombudsman found that the emails constituted a meeting of council and the indications of support from council constituted a vote. Since this email chain constituted an illegal closed meeting of council, and the vote was neither procedural nor a direction to staff, the vote was improper.

Township of McKellar

December 04, 201504 December 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed emails sent by the Economic Development Committee for the Township of McKellar about a matter that needed to be determined before the committee’s next meeting. The Ombudsman found that the emails constituted an illegal closed meeting and the vote that took place over email was improper.