June 21, 201921 June 2019
The City of Hamilton’s General Issues Committee met in closed session to discuss the municipality’s contribution to the local Canadian Football League team’s bid for the Grey Cup championship game. The committee cited the exception for information belonging to the municipality when it moved in camera. The city claimed that the information discussed was a trade secret because it included details about how the city allocates funding to large-scale events generally. The city also claimed that the information had monetary value because if the amount of the city’s contribution was disclosed, it would negatively affect the city’s competitive position for the Grey Cup bid and other large-scale events in the future. The Ombudsman found that the information was not a trade secret but qualified as financial information. The Ombudsman also found that the information belonged to the municipality. However, the Ombudsman found that the while the city may suffer economic loss if the information were disclosed, there was no indication that the information itself had any monetary value. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the exception for information belonging to the municipality.