July 20, 201220 July 2012
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg to discuss a report issued by the Ombudsman, relying on the exception for solicitor-client privilege. Council considered written legal advice from the municipality’s solicitor who was also present during the closed session. The written legal advice had been publicly posted on the municipality’s website in error. The Ombudsman found that in many cases, public disclosure of confidential information is a factor weighing in favour of discussing the information in the open. In this case, the Ombudsman found that the information posted to the municipality’s website was done so in error and was intended to remain confidential. Council did not waive its solicitor-client privilege. Therefore, the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.