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The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to receive training on strategic planning. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. During the session, councillors were taught the basic principles and vocabulary related to the strategic planning process. The presentation used the current strategic plan for the municipality as a reference point for abstract principles and vocabulary that was being taught. The discussion was not a workshop or free flow of ideas but rather a specific training course. There was no decision-making or discussion of specific municipal priorities or planning. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the education or training exception.
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland to discuss a marketing plan prepared by an economic development consultant. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. Council cited the exception because it wanted to protect its competitive advantage over neighbouring municipalities in attracting new business. The Ombudsman found that while the municipality has a property interest in its marketing plan, the subject matter of the closed session discussion was not protecting the marketing plan from loss or damage. Rather, the discussion involved sharing the marketing plan itself with council. Therefore, the discussion did not fit within the security of the property exception.
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell to discuss financial interests, municipal growth, future planning, and negotiation strategy. The meeting was closed under the security of the property exception. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussions did not come within section 239(2)(a) of the Municipal Act, 2001 as the discussion did not relate to preventing the loss or damage of municipal property or to the protection of public safety relating to municipal property.