access to meeting (electronic)

Summaries List

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City of Hamilton

September 07, 202207 September 2022

The Ombudsman reviewed a complaint that two meetings, one held by the Heritage Permit Review Sub-Committee and the Agriculture and the other by the Rural Affairs Advisory Committee for the City of Hamilton, were improperly closed to the public because of livestream issues. The Ombudsman found that one meeting experienced a technical glitch causing the livestream to go down for a brief period of time, and was unable to determine the quality or availability of the livestream for the other meeting.

City of Niagara Falls

March 15, 202215 March 2022

The Ombudsman investigated a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls on November 17, 2020 to discuss the process for establishing a Chief Administrative Officer recruitment sub-committee. 
The Ombudsman 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 Municipal Act, 2001 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. 

The Ombudsman recommended that council ensure the description of the issue(s) to be discussed in closed session be provided in an accurate manner that maximizes the information available to the public while not undermining the reason for its exclusion. The Ombudsman also recommended that council ensure that its resolutions to proceed in camera are passed during open session, recorded in the meeting minutes, and captured by the live broadcast.

Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission

December 09, 202109 December 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed electronic meetings held by the Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission. The Ombudsman found that the Commission is a local board subject to the open meeting rules. The Commission contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 by failing to pass a procedure by-law governing its meetings and failing to provide adequate notice of its meetings. The Ombudsman further found that the Commission did not adequately notify members of the public about how to request readmission to the portion of an open meeting following a closed session. The Ombudsman commended the Commission’s efforts to increase transparency through changes to its public notice process and adoption of a formal procedure to ensure that observers are adequately informed about how to observe portions of a meeting occurring after a closed session. The Ombudsman recommended that the Commission adopt a procedure by-law providing for public notice of all meetings and that the Commission ensure the public is able to observe all open portions of meetings.

Municipality of Temagami

December 01, 202101 December 2021

The Ombudsman found that the resolution passed by council during a meeting on March 8, 2021 adequately provided a general description of the matter to be discussed in camera. However, council contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 by failing to ensure the public could observe the passage of the resolution to proceed in camera during its meetings on March 8, 2021 and March 25, 2021. Whenever the public is excluded from in-person attendance, it is imperative that the alternative electronic format selected enables the public to observe all portions of the meeting except the duly constituted and permitted closed portions. This includes the resolution to go in camera and any business or report back that occurs after council has reconvened in open session. Publishing a recording of a meeting after it has already taken place is not a substitute for enabling the public to observe a meeting while it is happening.

Township of Bonfield

July 14, 202114 July 2021

The Ombudsman found that the Township of Bonfield violated the open meeting rules when it held meetings in May and June 2020 over Zoom, without broadcasting or otherwise making the meetings accessible to the public. The Ombudsman recognized that these were the first meetings held by the Township during the COVID-19 pandemic, but noted that the pandemic did not alter the open meeting requirements.

City of Niagara Falls

July 08, 202108 July 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the City of Niagara Falls. Council met in closed session prior to the regular meeting. Council’s resolution stating the general nature of the subjects to be discussed in camera was not broadcast live. The Ombudsman found that this contravened the requirements of section 239(4)(a) of the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman recommended that the City ensure that the public is able to observe all open portions of electronic meetings including the resolution to go in camera.

City of Greater Sudbury

May 12, 202112 May 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed an electronic meeting held by the City of Greater Sudbury. Council met in closed session prior to the regular meeting. Council’s resolution stating the general nature of the subjects to be discussed in camera was not broadcast live. The Ombudsman found that this contravened the requirements of section 239(4)(a) of the Act. The Ombudsman recommended that the City ensure that the public is able to observe all open portions of electronic meetings including the resolution to go in camera.

City of Hamilton

April 22, 202122 April 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed an electronic meeting held by the LGBTQ advisory committee for the City of Hamilton. The Ombudsman found that during the open portion of the meeting, the public livestream was unavailable due to technical issues. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that while the livestream was down, the public was excluded from the meeting and the meeting was illegally closed.

City of Richmond Hill

March 31, 202131 March 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed several electronic meetings held by the City of Richmond Hill where council’s resolution to go in camera was not broadcast live. The Ombudsman found that this contravened the requirements of section 239(4)(a) of the Act. The Ombudsman recommended that the City ensure that the public is able to observe all open portions of electronic meetings including the resolution to go in camera and any business conducted after rising from closed session. This recommendation includes meetings where the only item on the agenda is an in camera matter. The Ombudsman also recommended that the City ensure that information on how to access the live broadcast of an electronic meeting is provided in all meeting notices.  

Village of Westport

March 12, 202112 March 2021

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding two meetings held by council for the Village of Westport on September 15, 2020. The complaint alleged that due to a technical issue, council did not livestream the virtual committee of the whole or special council meeting for the public. The complaint alleged that, as a result, these meetings were closed to the public contrary to the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman confirmed that the public was excluded from these meetings due to technical issues and that as a result, they were improperly closed to the public.

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.