May 05, 202205 May 2022
The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that meetings of the Board of Directors of the Niagara Falls Hydro Holding Corporation are improperly closed to the public in contravention of the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman determined that the corporation is not subject to the open meeting rules found in the Municipal Act, 2001 because 1) the corporation is not a local board as it was incorporated under a section of the Electricity Act, 1998 which deems it not to be a local board and 2) the corporation is not a committee of council as it does not function as a committee. That is, it does not exercise delegated authority from council and it does not play an advisory role to council.
January 05, 202205 January 2022
The Ombudsman received complaints about the meeting practices of the Board of Directors for the City of Hamilton Farmers’ Market. The complainant alleged that the Board is a local board and therefore subject to the open meeting rules under the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found the Hamilton Farmers’ Market is not a local board but rather a municipal services corporation, and is therefore not subject to open meeting rules. Section 21 of O. Reg 599/06 under the Act states that a municipal services corporation is “not a local board for the purposes of any Act.”
December 08, 202108 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.
September 03, 202103 September 2021
The Ombudsman found that the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) for the ConnectWell Community Health Centre is not a local board. The committee exists to promote communication and collaboration between the municipality and the health centre. It does not provide services on behalf of the municipality.
April 03, 201703 April 2017
The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the board of management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the Town of Fort Erie. During the investigation, the Ombudsman became aware that the members of the board had never been provided with training on the open meeting rules or the board’s obligations under the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality provide all members of its local boards and committees with training on the open meeting rules.
December 29, 201629 December 2016
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission to discuss airport fees. The Ombudsman found that the commission failed in its resolution to proceed in camera to cite the exception it was relying upon. The resolution was also not read out loud and members of the commission did not have a draft resolution prior to voting to proceed in camera. Additionally, although the general nature of the matter to be discussed was provided orally at the meeting, the formal written resolution failed to include that information. The Ombudsman recommended reading out the formal resolution prior to proceeding into closed session and that the formal resolution include information about the intended in camera discussion.
December 29, 201629 December 2016
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission to discuss airport fee negotiations and related airport upgrades. The Ombudsman found that the commission’s procedure by-law failed to reflect amendments to the open meeting exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001 and included reasons for meeting in camera that are not consistent with the exceptions found in the Act. The Ombudsman recommended that the commission update its procedure by-law to accurately reflect the closed meeting exceptions found in the Municipal Act, 2001.
September 20, 201320 September 2013
The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Niagara Central Airport Commission. The Ombudsman found that the Niagara Central Airport Commission is a local board subject to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman recommended that the Commission enact a procedure by-law governing meetings in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001.
February 14, 201314 February 2013
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Niagara District Airport Commission to discuss comments about the commission made by a local mayor. The meeting relied on the personal matters exception. During the discussion, the commission considered how to respond to the mayor’s official comments. The Ombudsman found that the discussion of the mayor’s professional relationship with the commission does not qualify as personal information. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the personal matters exception.
September 02, 201102 September 2011
The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by the Minor Variance Committee for the Township of Russell. The Ombudsman found that the Minor Variance Committee is a local board for the purposes of the open meeting provisions. Therefore, the Minor Variance Committee must comply with the open meeting rules, including having a procedure by-law that provides for public notice of meetings. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality adhere to the Municipal Act, 2001 by implementing a procedure by-law for the Minor Variance Committee.