minutes (lack of)

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Town of Amherstburg

July 29, 202229 July 2022

The Ombudsman received complaints alleging that council for the Town of Amherstburg violated the open meeting rules found in the Municipal Act, 2001 on November 8 and November 16, 2021. The November 8 and November 16 in camera meetings were not audio or video recorded and minutes of the closed sessions were not kept. The Ombudsman found that the Town failed to fulfill its obligation under section 239(7) of the Act in not keeping closed meeting minutes for these meetings. The Ombudsman has previously found that closed meeting records should provide an independent record of in camera proceedings even if some of this information could be implied from the open meeting minutes.

Township of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan

October 01, 202101 October 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of council for the Township of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan. During the closed session, no formal minutes were taken. Although the Township has adopted the practice of recording its closed session meetings, only an incomplete recording of this meeting was available. The Ombudsman noted that audio recordings should not replace the written records as required by the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman recommended that the Township ensure that both open and closed session minutes are kept of all meetings of council, local boards, and committees. The Ombudsman also recommended that the Township ensure meeting records are complete and accurately reflect all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed.

City of St. Catharines

February 14, 201914 February 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of St. Catharines. The Ombudsman found that while council made an oral resolution to move into closed session, the open session minutes failed to record the resolution and the oral resolution did not include a general description of the matters to be discussed in camera or the exceptions that applied to the in camera discussions.

Township of Front of Yonge

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a council meeting for the Township of Front of Yonge. The Ombudsman noted that the meeting minutes do not record council’s discussion about recycling bins. The municipality’s practice is to only record formal motions and votes of council in its meeting minutes. The Ombudsman noted in order to ensure complete and accurate record, all substantive and procedural items discussed at a meeting should be recorded.

Township of Tehkummah

April 18, 201818 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of council for the Township of Tehkummah. During the closed session, the clerk left the meeting room, and no closed meeting minutes were taken. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to fulfill its statutory obligation to record council’s proceedings. The Ombudsman recommended that the township ensure that both open and closed session minutes are kept of all meetings of council, local boards, and committees. The Ombudsman also recommended that meeting records are complete and accurately reflect all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed, and that meetings are audio and/or video recorded.

Town of Grimsby

May 17, 201717 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed meetings held by council for the Town of Grimsby in its capacity as a shareholder of Niagara Power Inc. that occurred without notice to the public. The municipality suggested council was entitled to meet in its capacity as shareholder of the corporation under the Business Corporations Act, and that the meetings were not subject to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that the municipality is the majority shareholder of Niagara Power Inc., but that individual members of council are not shareholders. When the company holds a shareholders’ meeting, council is invited to attend in its capacity as the representative of the town. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the municipality must provide public notice of the meetings in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman also provided best practice examples for conducting shareholder meetings for municipally controlled corporations from other municipalities.

Township of Bonfield

November 23, 201523 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by the Public Works Committee for the Township of Bonfield. The Ombudsman noted that the committee’s open session minutes only recorded the resolutions passed by the committee. The Ombudsman also found that the committee excluded the clerk during the closed session minutes and did not take any formal minutes for that portion of the meeting. The Ombudsman found that the municipality’s practices led to little substantive content of the committee’s discussion being recorded. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure that both open and closed session minutes are kept of all meetings of council, local boards, and committees. The Ombudsman also recommended that meeting records be complete and accurately reflect all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed, and that meetings be audio and/or video recorded. Finally, the Ombudsman recommended that if the committee’s clerk delegates minute-taking responsibilities, and if the clerk is not attending the meeting, the delegation should be made formally in writing.

Municipality of South Huron

March 02, 201502 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed seven closed meetings held by council for the Municipality of South Huron. The Ombudsman found that for several of the meetings, there was a lack of information available in the minutes. For one meeting, for example, the minutes failed to provide any information about the discussions that took place. In another instance, the meeting minutes failed to record all of the topics of the in camera discussion. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure that its meeting record is complete and accurately reflects all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed. Additionally, the Ombudsman recommended that the municipality implement a practice of audio recording its closed sessions.

Town of Mattawa

January 11, 201111 January 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed several closed meetings held by the Ad Hoc Heritage Committee for the Town of Mattawa. The Ombudsman noted that the municipality did not have a formal record for two meetings. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure it follow a practice of keeping a proper record of closed sessions consistent with the requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001.