April 13, 202213 April 2022
The Ombudsman received a complaint about working group meetings held by the Off Road Vehicle Task Force of the City of Kawartha Lakes on February 19 and March 4, 2021. The complainant alleged that the meetings were closed to the public in contravention of the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found that because the Task Force was designated as a committee of council under the municipality’s procedure by-law and was mandated to provide advice and recommendations to council, the Task Force was obligated to comply with the open meeting rules. In closing these meetings to the public, it violated the requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001.
October 18, 202118 October 2021
The Ombudsman reviewed meetings held by two working groups for the Township of Lucan Biddulph. Both working groups were informal and lacked operating polices or procedures. The Ombudsman acknowledged and applauded the Township’s choice, made prior to our investigation, to dissolve these groups and replace them with a formal committee. The Ombudsman recommended that the Township formally establish all committees by by-law, and ensure that all meetings are conducted in accordance with the open meeting rules.
October 03, 201703 October 2017
The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Deep River to discuss a police services consultation plan. During the meeting, council formed a police services consultation working group composed of three members of council. The Ombudsman found that the working group was not a committee under the municipality’s procedure by-law. In determining whether the working group was a committee under the Municipal Act, 2001, the Ombudsman considered the role and function of the group. When groups primarily exchange information or advance positions that a municipality has already decided upon without laying the groundwork for decision-making by council, the body will not constitute a committee. In this case, the Ombudsman found that the working group exercised an administrative function. Therefore, the working group was not a committee under the Municipal Act.