2019

October 29, 2019

29 October, 2019

Norfolk County

The Ombudsman determined that council for Norfolk County did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001, when it went in camera on March 26 and April 2, to discuss the hiring of an interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). The meetings relied on the exceptions for personal matters about an identifiable individual, and advice subject to solicitor-client privilege.

The Ombudsman found that the discussions about the hiring of a candidate for the interim CAO position and the performance of identifiable staff members fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual. The Ombudsman also found that council’s receipt of legal advice from the County Solicitor fit within the exception for advice subject to solicitor-client privilege. 

October 4, 2019

4 October, 2019

City of Hamilton

The Ombudsman received 77 complaints that closed meetings held by the City Manager Recruitment Steering Committee for the City of Hamilton were held in violation of the Municipal Act and the city’s procedure by-law. The complainants alleged that the public was denied access to these meetings, which were held outside city limits at a private venue. They also alleged that meeting times had been changed without notice and that the committee had denied public delegations. The Ombudsman determined that the public had been improperly prevented from attending the open portions of one meeting, contrary to the Municipal Act, and that the city failed to update the meeting time on its website. However, he determined that the location of the meetings was permissible. Exercising his general jurisdiction under the Ombudsman Act to review administrative concerns about municipalities, the Ombudsman determined that the city did not violate its delegation policy by refusing to permit members of the public to delegate during one of the meetings.

October 3, 2019

3 October, 2019

Township of Carling

The Ombudsman received a complaint about three meetings of council for the Township of Carling, held on July 27, October 10, and November 13, 2018. The complainant alleged that the township failed to include the general nature of the matter to be discussed in camera in the resolutions to close the meetings, and that council did not report back to the public following the closed sessions. The Ombudsman shared best practice suggestions with the municipality regarding resolutions and reporting back following a closed meeting.

October 3, 2019

3 October, 2019

Municipality of St.-Charles

The Ombudsman received a complaint that the Committee of the Whole for the Municipality of St.-Charles inappropriately met in closed session on April 3, 2019, to discuss documents and recommendations about the municipality’s finances. The Ombudsman determined that the committee contravened the Municipal Act, 2001, when it went in camera to discuss the steps necessary to rectify errors and discrepancies in its accounting software. This discussion did not fit within the exception for personal matters, or any exception, to the open meeting requirements.

October 3, 2019

3 October, 2019

Municipality of West Nipissing

The Ombudsman determined that the council for the Municipality of West Nipissing inappropriately met in closed session on March 19, 2019, under the exception for personal matters in the Municipal Act, 2001 to discuss “Municipal Act/Roles & Responsibilities”. The Ombudsman’s investigation found that council’s in camera discussion was unrestricted and covered a wide range of topics, but did not involve any personal information that would have brought the discussion within the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman also found that the tone of the discussion – which was described as toxic, chaotic and disrespectful – was not a basis for closing the discussion under the personal matters exception. In addition, the Ombudsman determined the discussion, although intended to educate and train council members on their roles, did not actually involve any education or training. The discussion therefore did not fit within the narrowly construed exception for education and training.

August 15, 2019

15 August, 2019

Municipality of The Nation

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that resolutions to proceed in camera passed by council for the Municipality of The Nation at three separate meetings were not sufficiently detailed.

August 2, 2019

2 August, 2019

Municipality of Lambton Shores

The Ombudsman received a complaint about a gathering that two council members attended on April 14, 2019, and a special meeting of council held on April 15, 2019, without prior public notice.

July 12, 2019

12 July, 2019

Township of Springwater

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding a closed special meeting held on April 29, 2019. Council closed the meeting to the public to discuss a legal letter.

July 4, 2019

4 July, 2019

City of Hamilton

The Ombudsman received a complaint that the doors to Hamilton city hall were locked during part of a meeting of council on February 14, 2019, and that the doors to  city hall were barricaded during part of a meeting of the city’s Audit, Finance and Administration Committee on April 18, 2019.

July 4, 2019

4 July, 2019

City of Hamilton

The Ombudsman received a complaint that a vote by the City of Hamilton’s Selection Committee during a March 1, 2019 closed meeting was not permitted by the open meeting rules.

June 28, 2019

28 June, 2019

Township of Wollaston

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding the attendance of three councillors at an April 30, 2019 public proceeding of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

June 21, 2019

21 June, 2019

City of Hamilton

We received a complaint about a meeting held by the General Issues Committee for the City of Hamilton.

May 24, 2019

24 May, 2019

Township of Wollaston

We received a complaint that council for Wollaston Township did not provide enough information to the public before closing meetings on December 3, 2018 and January 7, 2019, and that council should have used the exception for labour relations instead of the exception for personal matters.

May 16, 2019

16 May, 2019

Municipality of Temagami

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding the January 10 and March 28, 2019 closed meetings of council for the Municipality of Temagami.

February 22, 2019

22 February, 2019

City of Hamilton

We received a complaint that members of council for the City of Hamilton contravened the open meeting provisions by exchanging emails relating to a vacant council seat in June 2018.

February 14, 2019

14 February, 2019

City of St. Catharines

The Ombudsman received a complaint about a meeting held by council for the City of St. Catharines in June 2018.