identifiable individual

Summaries List

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Township of Minden Hills

September 26, 202226 September 2022

The Ombudsman reviewed the applicability of the exception for personal matters to a portion of a closed meeting held by Council for the Township of Minden Hills on November 25, 2021. The Ombudsman found that Council reviewed and discussed specific personal information about individual applicants for a working group, including the suitability of the applicants. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that Council’s discussion fit within the exception to the open meeting rules for discussions about personal matters about an identifiable individual.

Town of Amherstburg

July 29, 202229 July 2022

The Ombudsman received complaints alleging that council for the Town of Amherstburg violated the open meeting rules found in the Municipal Act, 2001 on August 8, 2021. During the in camera discussion on August 8, council discussed the job performance and workplace conduct of three individuals who were identified by name. The Ombudsman found that this discussion was properly closed under the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

Town of Amherstburg

July 29, 202229 July 2022

The Ombudsman received complaints alleging that council for the Town of Amherstburg violated the open meeting rules found in the Municipal Act, 2001 on November 8, 2021. During the in camera discussion on November 8, council discussed a report analyzing the possible uses of Centennial Park land. Council discussed the identity of the person who hired a consultant to draft the report, and discussed this person’s authority to commission the report. The Ombudsman found that this discussion was properly closed under the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

Township of Lanark Highlands

June 20, 202220 June 2022

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. 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.

Township of Huron-Kinloss

May 12, 202212 May 2022

The Ombudsman received a complaint about three closed meetings held by council for the Township of Huron-Kinloss. It was alleged that the discussions closed under the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual at each of these meetings were held in violation of the open meeting rules found in the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found that council discussed personal information about specific municipal employees such as their salaries, job performance, and upcoming retirement. There was therefore no contravention of the open meeting rules in closing these discussions to the public.

Township of South Algonquin

November 19, 202119 November 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Township of South Algonquin on September 8, 2021. The meeting was closed under the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual. The Ombudsman concluded that council met in camera to discuss the qualifications and suitability of candidates for a vacant council position. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the open meeting exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

Municipality of West Nipissing

September 09, 202109 September 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed complaints about a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of West Nipissing to discuss the payment of legal fees. Council cited the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual. The Ombudsman’s review found that council’s discussion about payment of legal fees, which identified why legal advice had been sought and previous instances in which the municipality had incurred legal fees, revealed personal information about identifiable individuals as a matter of necessity. Although all exceptions to the open meeting requirements should be interpreted narrowly and applied prudently, in this case the closed session discussion fit within the parameters of the exception for personal matters.

City of Greater Sudbury

May 12, 202112 May 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed session meeting held by the City of Greater Sudbury where council discussed the conduct of an identifiable individual employed by the City. While information about an individual in their professional capacity will not generally fit within the personal matters exception, the discussion will fit within the exception if it relates to scrutiny of an individual’s conduct. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the subject fit within the exception.

Norfolk County

March 17, 202117 March 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Norfolk County to discuss reducing service levels in the municipality by eliminating staff positions and consolidating municipal facilities under the “personal matters” exception. The Ombudsman found that during the discussion, employees were identified by name or by position, and the discussion involved departments with a small number of employees. Had the committee’s discussions happened in public, these employees would have been easily identifiable. The discussion fit within the “personal matters” exception.  

Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers

September 25, 202025 September 2020

Council for the Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers was permitted to discuss a bidder on a Request for Proposals in camera, because the discussion went beyond professional information to include the individual’s personal suitability and conduct. Council was also permitted to discuss a grant application to hire an intern in camera, as the discussion included information about an individual’s job performance.

Norfolk County

October 29, 201929 October 2019

The Ombudsman determined that council for Norfolk County did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 when it went in camera on March 26 and April 2, to discuss the hiring of an interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). The meetings relied partly on the exceptions for personal matters about an identifiable individual. This exception generally does not apply to information that pertains to an individual in their professional capacity, however, it does apply if such information reveals something personal or relates to scrutiny of an individual’s conduct. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussions about the hiring of a candidate for the interim CAO position, and the performance of identifiable staff members fit within the exception for personal matters for an identifiable individual.

Norfolk County

October 29, 201929 October 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for Norfolk County on March 26, at which a potential candidate for the vacant interim CAO position attended. Some council members described the closed session as a “very informal interview” with the candidate. The Ombudsman found the discussion of personal information about the candidate, and the candidate’s suitability for the position fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

Municipality of West Nipissing

October 03, 201903 October 2019

The Ombudsman reviewed an in camera session of a meeting of council for the Municipality of West Nipissing during which council was to discuss the relationship between staff and council. The discussion instead involved shouting, pointing and arguments between council members. The Ombudsman found discussions about relationships between staff and council, even if they had taken place, would not have fit within the personal matters exception. Information pertaining to the professional capacity of an individual is not personal in nature even if discussions of relationships involve sensitive information the municipality would prefer to not discuss publicly.

Municipality of The Nation

August 15, 201915 August 2019

The Ombudsman found that council for the Municipality of The Nation contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it discussed in closed session the subject of changes to councillor remuneration. The Ombudsman found this discussion did not fall within the exception for personal matters that was cited for closing the meeting.

Municipality of The Nation

August 15, 201915 August 2019

The Ombudsman found that council for the Municipality of The Nation violated the Municipal Act, 2001 on January 14, 2019, when it discussed in closed session the subject of economic development activities, as this discussion did not fall within the “personal matters” exception that was cited for closing the meeting.

Town of Amherstburg

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Amherstburg relying on the personal matters exception to discuss the conduct of various identifiable individuals. The discussion included allegations that these individuals acted improperly. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of The North Shore

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of The North Shore relying on the personal matters exception to discuss payment of remuneration for volunteer firefighters. During the closed session, council identified specific firefighters by name and discussed whether they had satisfied their employment conditions. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of The North Shore

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of The North Shore relying on the personal matters exception to discuss a vacant council seat. During the closed session, council discussed whether to fill the vacancy by appointment or by by-election, and at least one identifiable individual who could fill the vacancy. The discussion about the identifiable individual involved personal information regarding qualifications and experience. The Ombudsman found that this portion of the discussion fit within the personal matters exception. However, the Ombudsman found that council’s discussion about how to fill the council vacancy (whether by appointment or by-election) did not include any personal information about an identifiable individual. Accordingly, this portion of the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Norfolk County

July 05, 201705 July 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the County of Norfolk to receive a deputation from representatives of the Port Dover Community Health Centre Board. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. The deputation related to the board’s operations and included a request that the county release an installment of a monetary grant. The municipality highlighted that the deputation contained information that could affect the personal lives of individual members of the board. The Ombudsman acknowledged that the board was composed of volunteers, however, the deputation contained information that was professional in nature and related to the business of the board. Accordingly, the Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

Township of Laird

January 24, 201724 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Laird Fairgrounds Management Board to discuss an incident at a horse arena that involved township employees, members of the board, and members of the public. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The board’s discussion identified individuals by name and referred to allegations about conduct outside the scope of the individuals’ official roles. The Ombudsman found that the board referenced information in camera that had been discussed during the open portion of the meeting, but this was incidental to the main discussion, which focused on personal information.

Township of Laird

January 24, 201724 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Laird Fairgrounds Management Board for the Township of Laird to discuss an incident at a horse arena that involved township employees, members of the board and members of the public. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The board’s discussion identified individuals by name and referred to allegations about conduct outside the scope of the individuals’ official roles. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the personal matters exception since it related to personal information about identifiable individuals.

Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands

September 08, 201608 September 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands to discuss the assignment of the Chief Administrative Officer’s (CAO) duties. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The discussion focused on the specific skills and work experience of identified employees who were being considered for the interim CAO role. There was a brief mention of the CAO hiring process which was incidental to the main discussion. The Ombudsman found that the meeting fit within the personal matters exception because council discussed the qualification of identifiable individuals. The Ombudsman found that general consideration of the CAO hiring process would not have fit within this exception, however any such discussions were brief and incidental to the main discussion.

City of Port Colborne

November 19, 201519 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Port Colborne that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss an update on the municipality’s insurance program. The discussion included specific ongoing claims against the municipality in an illustrative matter without personal identifiers. This did not form a substantial part of the discussion. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake that relied on the personal matters exception to discuss a request from a property owner for an extension to complete construction. If the owner failed to finish construction within the allotted time, the municipality could repurchase the property at 80% of the purchase price. The Ombudsman found that council’s decision would have a significant effect on an identifiable individual, and therefore, council’s discussion fit within the personal matters exception.

City of Elliot Lake

April 24, 201524 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake, which relied on the personal matters exception to discuss the recruitment of a new chief administrative officer (CAO). During the closed meeting, council discussed an identifiable individual who had submitted an application for the CAO position. The discussion involved the contents of the application, and included expressing opinions about the individual’s qualifications. The discussion also involved third-party information that was included in the application. The Ombudsman found that the discussion involved personal information about the applicant and third-party information. Accordingly, the discussion fit within the personal matters exception.