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Summaries List

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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 September 13, 2021. During the in camera discussion on September 13, a report and legal correspondence were presented to council relating to the Town’s options under a contractual agreement with a specific entity. A solicitor was present and answered council’s questions about its options. The Ombudsman found that this discussion was properly closed under the exception for communications subject to solicitor-client privilege.

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 16, 2021. During the in camera discussion on November 16, council discussed the Town’s vaccination policy and specific Town employees who had not provided proof of vaccination. A solicitor was present and provided advice regarding possible courses of action the Town could take with respect to these employees. The Ombudsman found that the discussion about how the Town’s vaccination policy applied to specific individuals was properly closed under the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations.

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 16, 2021. During the in camera discussion on November 16, council discussed the Town’s ongoing litigation with a former staff member. A solicitor provided updates to council with respect to the ongoing litigation, as well as advice regarding next steps in the litigation. The Ombudsman found that the discussion about the ongoing litigation matter was properly closed under the exception for litigation or potential litigation.

Township of The North Shore

April 15, 202115 April 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of the North Shore. The municipality’s solicitor was present during the meeting and provided legal advice to council. The Ombudsman found that this advice fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Town of Grimsby

April 14, 202114 April 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Grimsby. The municipality’s solicitor was present during the meeting and provided legal advice to council on the application of the open meeting rules and a contract between the municipality and the integrity commissioner. The Ombudsman found that this advice fit within the “solicitor-client privilege” exception.

Municipality of Temagami

February 03, 202103 February 2021

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Municipality of Temagami to discuss the findings of an integrity commissioner investigation and harassment investigations. The meeting was closed under the solicitor-client advice exception. During the meeting a lawyer was present and provided confidential legal advice related to the investigations throughout the meeting. The Ombudsman found that this advice fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Loyalist Township

September 09, 202009 September 2020

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that council for Loyalist Township contravened the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements on July 8, 2019 when it went in camera to discuss a draft legal agreement with a wind energy provider. A lawyer was present and provided legal advice related to the agreement during the closed session. The Ombudsman’s investigation found that council’s discussion was permissible under the Municipal Act’s closed meeting exception for advice subject to solicitor-client privilege in s. 239(2)(f).

Township of the North Shore

July 09, 202009 July 2020

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of the North Shore relying on the exception for advice subject to solicitor-client privilege to discuss a draft by-law prepared by the township’s external solicitor. A third-party consultant, who also served as the township’s Integrity Commissioner, attended the meeting and provided comments on the draft by-law. The Ombudsman found that the presence of the consultant did not constitute a waiver of privilege and that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

Township of the North Shore

July 09, 202009 July 2020

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of the North Shore relying on the exception for advice subject to solicitor-client privilege. A third-party consultant, who also served as the township’s Integrity Commissioner, attended the meeting. The Ombudsman found that council was entitled to rely on the exception for advice subject to solicitor-client privilege despite the presence of the consultant, but noted that a lack of consensus as to the consultant’s role at the meeting contributed to the impression that the meeting was improperly closed. The Ombudsman suggested, as a best practice, that meeting documents more clearly identify the capacity in which attendees participate in meetings if those attendees hold multiple positions within the township.

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 Ombudsman found that council’s receipt of legal advice from the county solicitor regarding ongoing contractual negotiations with a candidate for the interim CAO position, fit within the exception for advice subject to solicitor-client privilege.

Norfolk County

July 05, 201705 July 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for Norfolk County to receive a deputation from representatives of the Port Dover Community Health Centre Board. The meeting was closed using the exception for solicitor-client privilege. During the meeting, the municipality’s solicitor provided legal advice to council. The Ombudsman found that these portions of the closed meeting fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

City of London

February 17, 201717 February 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by council for the City of London which relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss the appointment of an integrity commissioner and a recent integrity commissioner report. Legal counsel was present during both meetings to answer questions and provide legal advice. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.

City of Niagara Falls

November 03, 201603 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a proposal to develop a university campus in the municipality’s downtown area. Council’s discussion focused on a development funding partnership with a post-secondary institution. The municipality’s solicitor was present during the closed session; however, the Ombudsman found that he did not provide any legal advice or participate in the discussion. Therefore, council’s discussion did not fit within the exception for solicitor-client privilege.