2022

September 13, 2022

13 September 2022

Town of South Bruce Peninsula

The Ombudsman received two complaints alleging that the Town of South Bruce Peninsula voted in closed session on April 28, 2022, contrary to the requirements in the Municipal Act, 2001.

September 7, 2022

7 September 2022

City of Hamilton

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding a meeting held by the Heritage Permit Review Sub-Committee on March 15, 2022, and a meeting held by the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Advisory Committee on March 29, 2022, for the City if Hamilton.

August 31, 2022

31 August 2022

City of Pickering

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that council for the City of Pickering violated the open meeting rules found in the Municipal Act, 2001 on January 10, 2022.

August 31, 2022

31 August 2022

Dufferin County

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding a closed meeting held by Dufferin County’s Infrastructure and Environmental Services Standing Committee on April 28, 2022.

August 19, 2022

19 August 2022

Municipality of Casselman

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that council for the Municipality of Casselman contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 during a meeting on October 26, 2021, by failing to pass a resolution describing the general nature of the matter to be discussed in closed session before moving in camera. The Ombudsman found that council contravened subsection 239(4) of the Act when it failed to state by resolution the general nature of the matter to be considered in camera. The Ombudsman also noted that the minutes did not accurately reflect the proceedings of the meeting.

August 19, 2022

19 August 2022

Municipality of Casselman

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that council for the Municipality of Casselman held a closed session on May 27, 2021, when three members of council participated in a video call pertaining to a development project with a neighbouring municipality. The presence of two members of council was never disclosed to other participants on the video call. The complainant was concerned that this gathering constituted an illegal meeting under the Municipal Act, 2001.

The Ombudsman found that the video call did not contravene the Act because the discussions during the call were technical and informational in nature and did not materially advance council business or decision-making. However, the Ombudsman strongly encouraged the Municipality to maximize the transparency of its practices by disclosing the presence of all participants at any virtual gathering.

August 15, 2022

15 August 2022

City of Brockville

The Ombudsman reviewed a complaint that council for the City of Brockville contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it went in camera on October 13, 2021. Council’s in camera discussions pertained to an employee’s performance in their role and to the employee’s conduct. The complaint also raised concerns relating to public notice for the meeting on October 13, 2021, and also for a meeting on October 18, 2021. The Ombudsman found that council’s in camera discussion on October 13, 2021 was permissible under the exception at paragraph 239(2)(b) of the Act, personal matters about an identifiable individual. However, council contravened the Act by failing to state in its resolution the general nature of the matter to be considered, as required by subsection 239(4). The Ombudsman also found that council did not comply with subsection 238(2.1) of the Act on October 13 and October 18, 2021 because its procedure by-law fails to provide for public notice about the calling, place and proceedings of special meetings.

July 29, 2022

29 July 2022

Town of Amherstburg

The Ombudsman received complaints alleging that council for the Town of Amherstburg violated the open meeting rules found in the Municipal Act, 2001 when it held in camera meetings on August 8, September 13, November 8, and November 16, 2021.

The Ombudsman found that the Town did not contravene the Act’s open meeting requirements in closing these meetings to the public. However, the Town contravened section 239(4)(a) of the Act on September 13 and November 16, 2021 by failing to state by resolution the general nature of the matters to be considered in camera. The Town also contravened the requirements of section 239(7) of the Act by failing to keep a record of what occurred in camera on November 8 and November 16, 2021.

July 29, 2022

29 July 2022

Township of Russell

The Ombudsman received a complaint about a special council meeting held by the Township of Russell on January 10, 2022.

July 14, 2022

14 July 2022

City of Niagara Falls

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding a closed meeting held by the Governance Committee for the Niagara Falls Downtown Business Improvement Area on January 12, 2022.

July 6, 2022

6 July 2022

Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that the Committee of the Whole for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it received an update about negotiations with a commercial partner during a closed session.

June 20, 2022

20 June 2022

Township of Lanark Highlands

The Ombudsman investigated a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Lanark Highlands on December 7, 2021. Council proceeded in camera to discuss the performance of an individual in the context of their employment with the Township. Council also discussed the Township’s finances, which would typically occur in open session. However, the Ombudsman found that it would have been impractical for council to parse its discussion of the Township’s finances from its discussion about the performance of an employee. The Ombudsman found that council did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 since the meeting fit under the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

June 15, 2022

15 June 2022

Town of Pelham

The Ombudsman investigated a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Pelham on April 19, 2021, during which council discussed future management and potential development of the local airport. The Ombudsman found that council contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it met in closed session since the discussion did not fit under any exceptions to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman also found that council contravened the requirements of section 239(4)(a) of the Municipal Act, 2001 when it failed to state by resolution the general nature of the matters to be considered in camera.

June 9, 2022

9 June 2022

Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission

The Ombudsman reviewed a complaint that the Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it went in camera during a meeting on September 27, 2021. The Ombudsman found that the Commission’s discussion about an agreement with a client was permissible under the exception for plans and instructions for negotiations. However, the Commission contravened the Act when it discussed an agreement with municipalities and the related withdrawal process, as well as financial information. Moreover, prior to moving into closed session, the Commission failed to state in its resolution the general nature of the matter to be considered as required by subsection 239(4) of the Act.

May 24, 2022

24 May 2022

City of Owen Sound

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that council for the City of Owen Sound violated the open meeting rules found in the Municipal Act, 2001 on March 14, 2022.

May 20, 2022

20 May 2022

Bruce County

The Ombudsman received a complaint about four meetings of Bruce County’s Executive Committee on September 21, 2017, August 2 and September 6, 2018, and January 10, 2019. The complaint alleged that the Committee contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it closed these meetings to the public and failed to report back in open session about its discussions.

The Ombudsman found that the Committee did not contravene the Act when it proceeded in camera on August 2, 2018. However, the Committee contravened the Act on September 21, 2017, and September 6, 2018. The Committee’s brief in camera discussion on January 10, 2019, about a new position for a specified individual fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual, however, this matter could have been parsed from the rest of the Committee’s discussion, which did not fit within any of the closed meeting exceptions.

May 12, 2022

12 May 2022

Township of Huron-Kinloss

The Ombudsman received a complaint about three closed meetings held by council for the Township of Huron-Kinloss.

May 5, 2022

5 May 2022

City of Niagara Falls

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that meetings of the Board of Directors of the Niagara Falls Hydro Holding Corporation constitute meetings of City council, and that consequently, these meetings do not comply with the Municipal Act, 2001’s open meeting requirements because they are not open to the public.

April 13, 2022

13 April 2022

City of Kawartha Lakes

The Ombudsman received a complaint about two working group meetings of the Off Road Vehicle Task Force of the City of Kawartha Lakes held on February 19 and March 4, 2021. The complainant alleged that the meetings were held in violation of the open meeting rules in the Municipal Act, 2001 because they were not open to the public. The Ombudsman found that the Task Force was a committee of council and was therefore required to comply with the open meeting rules. It was determined that there was quorum and the business of the Task Force was materially advanced at the February 19 and March 4, 2021 working group meetings. In closing these meetings to the public, the Task Force violated the requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001.

April 5, 2022

5 April 2022

Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands

The Ombudsman reviewed a complaint that council for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it went in camera on August 11, 2020. Council’s in camera discussion pertained to a study report and a funding application, both related to an internet broadband project.

The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion about the study report was permissible under the exception at s. 239(2)(j), information belonging to the municipality. However, council contravened the Act by discussing the funding application in camera and by holding a vote by consensus on this matter. Furthermore, prior to moving into closed session, council failed to state in its resolution the general nature of the matter to be considered as required by s. 239(4).

March 28, 2022

28 March 2022

Town of Hawkesbury

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Town of Hawkesbury met in closed session on November 8, 2021, contrary to the Municipal Act, 2001.

March 28, 2022

28 March 2022

Township of McMurrich/Monteith

The Ombudsman investigated two closed meetings held by council for the Township of McMurrich/Monteith on June 8 and July 6, 2021. The Ombudsman found that council did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 when it held a closed meeting on June 8, 2021 since part of the discussion fit under the exception for solicitor-client privilege and the rest of the discussion fit under the exception for plans or instructions for negotiations. The Ombudsman found that the delegation to council during the closed meeting on July 6, 2021 did not fit under any closed meeting exceptions while council’s subsequent discussion fit under the exception for litigation or potential litigation. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that council contravened the Municipal Act because it would have been possible for council to parse the delegation portion of the meeting from its subsequent discussion.

March 15, 2022

15 March 2022

City of Niagara Falls

The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Niagara Falls contravened the open meeting rules when it discussed the process for establishing a Chief Administrative Officer recruitment sub-committee in closed session on November 17, 2020. The discussion did not fit within any exception under the Municipal Act, 2001.

The Ombudsman also found that council failed to describe the subject to be discussed in closed session in its resolution to proceed in camera. Council further contravened the Act when it passed a resolution to go in camera during a portion of the meeting that was effectively closed to the public, as the public was unable to attend in person or observe a live broadcast.

February 8, 2022

8 February 2022

Municipality of St.-Charles

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that the Environmental Services Committee for the Municipality of St.-Charles held a closed session on August 17, 2021, when the two members sitting on the Committee attended a gathering with residents relating to garbage collection issues.

February 2, 2022

2 February 2022

City of Hamilton

The Ombudsman received a complaint about an electronic meeting held by the City of Hamilton’s Board of Health on August 11, 2021.

January 25, 2022

25 January 2022

Township of Pelee

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed session held by council for the Township of Pelee on June 22, 2021. The Ombudsman found that since council did not discuss a matter in a way that materially advanced business or decision-making, the gathering was not a meeting subject to open meeting rules under the Municipal Act. The Ombudsman found that even if the gathering had been a meeting, it was permissible to have the discussion in camera under the exception for education or training.

January 21, 2022

21 January 2022

Town of Collingwood

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by council for the Town of Collingwood on February 6 and June 11, 2018. The Ombudsman found that legal fee quotes containing specific information, such as suggested strategy, constitute advice subject to solicitor-client privilege. The Ombudsman found that council did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 since both meetings fit under the exception for advice subject to solicitor-client privilege.

January 5, 2022

5 January 2022

City of Hamilton

The Ombudsman received complaints about the meeting practices of the Board of Directors for the City of Hamilton Farmers’ Market.

December 29, 2021

29 December 2021

Township of Nairn and Hyman

The Ombudsman reviewed meetings held by the Investigation Committee in the Township of Nairn and Hyman. The Ombudsman found that the municipality contravened the open meeting rules when it did not provide public notice of Investigation Committee meetings and when council did not state by resolution the general nature of the matters to be discussed in camera. The Ombudsman recommended that the Township ensure it provides public notice for all committee meetings, and that resolutions to proceed in camera provide a general description of the issues to be discussed.