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The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that council for the Township of McKellar improperly met in closed session on June 24, 2021, to discuss the West Parry Sound Pool and Wellness Centre contrary to the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found that council discussed its position regarding ongoing negotiations with six municipalities and two first nation communities relating to a joint pool and wellness centre. Accordingly, this discussion was permissible under section 239(2)(k) of the Municipal Act.
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of St. Catharines to discuss a proposed staff position, government relations adviser. The meeting was closed under the negotiations exception. During the discussion, there were passing references to municipal projects involving the provincial government that could potentially become part of the new position’s portfolio of responsibilities. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the negotiations exception because it focused on determining the role and nature of a new staff position, including employment details, rather than specifically formulating a detailed course of action with respect to current or future negotiations involving municipal-provincial projects. In addition, the discussion did not involve any information that could undermine the city’s bargaining position in future negotiations.