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.
February 02, 202202 February 2022
The Ombudsman received a complaint about an electronic meeting held by the City of Hamilton’s Board of Health on August 11, 2021. The complaint alleged that during the meeting, the votes of individual Board members were not visible in real time. The Ombudsman found that there was no contravention of the open meeting rules in the Municipal Act, 2001 at this meeting. All meeting proceedings were streamed live online. The results of each vote were also announced verbally. A technical malfunction prevented the streaming software from displaying the breakdown of votes on-screen in real time.
June 23, 202123 June 2021
The Ombudsman received complaints about vote results displayed to the public during electronic meetings held by the City of Hamilton. The complainants alleged that the results of a vote held by the City’s Board of Health during an electronic meeting on February 19, 2021, were not entirely visible to the public, contrary to the open meeting rules outlined in the Municipal Act, 2001
. The City agreed to continue monitoring its electronic meeting software and to take appropriate measures to ensure that the vote results of electronic meetings are displayed in their entirety.
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.
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.
February 02, 202102 February 2021
The Ombudsman received complaints about the audio quality of a teleconference meeting held on August 11, 2020, by the committee of the whole for the Township of Lanark Highlands. The complainants alleged that the audio quality of the meeting was so poor that the public could not meaningfully follow the meeting. The Ombudsman acknowledged that poor audio quality of a teleconferenced meeting may interfere with the public’s ability to access a meeting. As a best practice, the Ombudsman suggested that municipalities take steps to monitor the clarity of such teleconferences to ensure that the public can follow municipal decision-making in a meaningful way. The Ombudsman did not find any violations of the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements.
December 22, 202022 December 2020
The Ombudsman received complaints regarding meetings held by the Township of Stone Mills between August 10, 2020 and October 27, 2020. Specifically, the complainants disagreed with the municipality’s decision to hold in-person council meetings without providing members of the public with a way to watch the meeting remotely, such as through video or phone conferencing technology. The Ombudsman’s review determined that council initially chose to satisfy the Act’s requirement to hold open meetings by broadcasting virtual Zoom meetings on YouTube. As of August 2020, the Township changed its approach and decided to satisfy the Act’s open meeting requirement by holding in-person council meetings in consultation with the local public health unit. The Ombudsman’s review confirmed that the municipality provided public notice of its meetings from August 10 to October 27, 2020, and that members of the public were able to attend these meetings and see municipal decision-making in progress. The Ombudsman did not find any violations of the Act’s open meeting requirements.