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Township of Russell

April 17, 202017 April 2020

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Township of Russell via electronic participation. Members were permitted to participate electronically and be counted toward quorum as a state of emergency had been declared pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The Ombudsman commended the Township for taking steps to ensure members of the public were advised of how to observe the live broadcast of the meeting and urged all municipalities to ensure electronic meetings are accessible to the public. 

Municipality of Lambton Shores

August 02, 201902 August 2019

The Ombudsman received a complaint about a special meeting held by the Municipality of Lambton Shores on April 15, 2019. The complaint alleged the public did not receive notice for the special meeting held by council at 12:00 p.m. The municipality posted the public notice for the special meeting on April 14 at 6:40 p.m. on the municipality’s website, in accordance with its procedure by-law. The municipality’s procedure by-law allowed for public notice of special meetings to be provided “as soon as practical.” The Ombudsman provided best practice suggestions related to the procedure by-law and requiring a public notice period for special meetings.

Municipality of Temagami

May 16, 201916 May 2019

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Municipality of Temagami did not provide notice of its January 10 and March 28, 2019 meetings. The complaint alleged that no notice was provided for the January 10 meeting and that conflicting and inaccurate notice was provided for the March 28 meeting. The Ombudsman’s review identified administrative issues with the meeting notice provided for the closed meetings on January 10 and March 28, 2019. The municipality acknowledged these errors and said that it had already taken steps to improve its processes.

City of Elliot Lake

December 22, 201622 December 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed two meetings of the Ad Hoc Multi-Use Complex Committee for the City of Elliot Lake. The committee’s procedure by-law requires public notice be posted on a bulletin board. As a general practice, the municipality also posts notice of its meetings on the municipal website, however, this was not done for the two committee meetings under review. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to provide notice of the two meetings on either the bulletin board or the website.

Township of Hornepayne

December 13, 201613 December 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by the Nuclear Waste Community Liaison Committee for the Township of Hornepayne. The committee’s terms of reference require that notice of special meetings be posted on the committee’s website prior to the meeting. The Ombudsman found that the committee failed to provide notice on the website prior to the special meeting in accordance with the terms of reference. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to provide notice of committee meetings.

Municipality of West Nipissing

September 27, 201627 September 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Municipality of West Nipissing. Notice of the meeting was provided on the same day of the meeting. The procedure by-law did not address notice of special meetings. The general practice of the municipality was to post notice of a special meeting on a bulletin board and on the municipal website. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality include provisions for providing public notice of special meetings in its procedure by-law.

Norfolk County

May 10, 201610 May 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council-in-committee for Norfolk County. The municipality’s procedure by-law requires that notice of meetings be posted on the municipal website and that the notice include a copy of the meeting agenda. The Ombudsman found that the county met the notice requirements of the procedure by-law. The Ombudsman also noted that there is no provision in the Municipal Act, 2001 requiring municipalities to provide advance notice of the matters to be discussed in closed session.

City of Owen Sound

November 26, 201526 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Owen Sound that took place in a basement boardroom before an open session in council chambers. The municipality’s procedure by-law stipulates that matters on the closed meeting agenda will be discussed at a time and place set out in the public meeting agenda. For the meeting in question, notice of the open session was provided in accordance with the procedure by-law. However, the public agenda failed to include the location of the closed meeting that took place prior to the open session. The Ombudsman found that while the public were properly informed of the date and time of the closed meeting, the municipality failed to provide notice of the correct location for it.

Township of West Lincoln

November 23, 201523 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Administration/Finance/Fire Committee of the Township of West Lincoln which included a closed session. Notice of the meeting was posted on the municipal website and on the paper meeting calendar in the township administration building in accordance with the procedure by-law. There was a concern that the notice did not provide information about the content of the closed session discussion. The Ombudsman found that advance notice of the individual matters to be discussed in closed session is not required and therefore, there was no violation of the Municipal Act, 2001.

Village of Burk's Falls and Armour Township

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a joint meeting held by the councils for the Village of Burk’s Falls and Armour Township. The Ombudsman found that each municipality was responsible for providing its own notice of the meeting. The Ombudsman found that Armour Township provided notice of the meeting in accordance with its procedure by-law, which required notice be posted on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the Village of Burk’s Falls did not provide notice of the meeting. The procedure by-law for the Village of Burk’s Falls requires notice be posted at the municipal office, recorded on the municipal telephone answering machine, and posted on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the meeting was not an emergency meeting and therefore, the Village of Burk’s Falls was required to provided notice in accordance with its procedure by-law.

Armour Township and Village of Burk's Falls

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a joint meeting held by the councils for the Village of Burk’s Falls and Armour Township. The Ombudsman found that each municipality was responsible for providing its own notice of the meeting. The Ombudsman found that Armour Township provided notice of the meeting in accordance with its procedure by-law, which required notice be posted on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the Village of Burk’s Falls did not provide notice of the meeting. The procedure by-law for the Village of Burk’s Falls requires notice be posted at the municipal office, recorded on the municipal telephone answering machine, and posted on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the meeting was not an emergency meeting and therefore, the Village of Burk’s Falls was required to provided notice in accordance with its procedure by-law.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake. Notice of the meeting was initially provided via the municipal website and posted on a bulletin board, but was removed and reposted the next day. The procedure by-law requires notice of a special meeting be provided as soon as reasonably possible. The Ombudsman found that in this case, notice was provided in accordance with the procedure by-law. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to reflect council’s practice of providing notice to the public of special meetings through posting meeting agendas on the website and in the municipal office, as well as by alerting the media.

City of Niagara Falls

March 05, 201505 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting that was held before a regular open meeting by council for the City of Niagara Falls. Public notice was provided for the open meeting in accordance with the municipality’s procedure by-law, but there was no formal notice of the closed meeting because council relied on the media to publicize it. The Ombudsman found that the municipality did not meet the notice requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001 because it relied on the media to publicize the closed session and no direct notice was provided to the public.

Township of Black River-Matheson

January 09, 201509 January 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Committee of the Whole for the Township of Black River-Matheson. The meeting agenda did not include the fact that the meeting included a closed session or the location of the meeting. The meeting was not held in council chambers, but rather in an arena to accommodate a higher public turnout. The municipality’s general practice was to post notice on a bulletin board and on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to provide sufficient notice of the meeting because it failed to include the location of the meeting. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality’s procedure by-law should explicitly provide for notice to the public of regular or special meetings.

Regional Municipality of Niagara

August 27, 201227 August 2012

The Ombudsman reviewed the practice of the Regional Municipality of Niagara, which did not post the agendas for the meetings of its committees on the municipal website. The Ombudsman found that although the municipal website provided an annual calendar of committee meetings, the procedure by-law requires public notice of all committee meetings by posting the agenda, time and date of each meeting as well. The Ombudsman found that the municipality did not provide notice of committee meetings as required and defined by its by-law, because it did not include meeting agendas alongside the meeting dates on the municipal website’s annual calendar of committee meetings.

Township of Nipissing

February 06, 200906 February 2009

The Ombudsman reviewed a special meeting held by council for the Township of Nipissing. Notice of the meeting was not provided. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to provide notice in accordance with its procedure by-law, which requires notice of special meetings be posted on a bulletin board and on the municipal website at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.