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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.
The Ombudsman reviewed a joint meeting held by councils for the Village of Burk’s Falls and Armour Township. The Ombudsman found that both municipalities were obligated to pass a resolution to close the meeting in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001 and their respective procedure by-laws. Armour Township passed a resolution to proceed into closed session during the closed session. The Ombudsman found that the resolution to close a meeting must be passed in open session while members of the public still have the opportunity to attend. Even if council plans to hold a meeting where a closed session is the only agenda item, the meeting must begin in open session and the public must be invited to attend that portion of the meeting. The Village of Burk’s Falls did not pass a resolution to close the meeting.