October 14, 202114 October 2021
The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula improperly met in closed session to receive a delegation on March 16, 2021, contrary to the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman’s review determined that council received and discussed detailed information from a third party company regarding that company’s development plans, expected profits, and intended use of proprietary technology. We were told that the third party specifically wished to discuss this commercial information in private because it did not want to prejudice a pending land transaction or alert competitors to the proprietary technology it intended to rely on to create a profitable business in a specific area. The Ombudsman found this closed session discussion was permissible under section 239(2)(i) of the Municipal Act as council discussed information supplied in confidence by a third party that, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to significantly prejudice the competitive position of the business and significantly interfere with an ongoing land transaction.
October 03, 201903 October 2019
The Ombudsman reviewed the in camera session of the meeting of the Committee of the Whole for the Municipality of St.-Charles, in which documents and recommendations about the municipality’s finances were discussed. The council discussed a document containing a watermark indicating that it was “supplied in confidence” to the municipality by a consultant. The Ombudsman found the document summarized and analyzed information about the municipality, and was marked “in confidence” because it was created by a third party and given to the municipality. Section 239(2)(i) is intended to protect confidential information about a third party. Therefore, the discussion of this report marked “in confidence” did not fit within the information supplied in confidence exception.
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.