Reports and Case Summaries

Filter By

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 25, 2019

25 June, 2019

Fine treatment

A man who wanted to dispute a $40 parking ticket told municipal staff he would call back to schedule a hearing, but when he did so, he was told it had already taken place.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 25, 2019

25 June, 2019

Pothole role

When a snowplow hit a pothole, digging up asphalt and other debris, it dumped the pile in a woman’s front yard and left a larger hole in the road. She complained to us after the municipal crew she called only filled the potholes, leaving the debris in her yard.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 25, 2019

25 June, 2019

Water pressure

A man who received a water bill for more than $700 – around seven times more than his usual charge – called us in frustration when the local water company told him his previous bills were only estimates, but this one was based on actual use, and they could not alter his bill.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 25, 2019

25 June, 2019

Photo proof

After we made inquiries about a man’s complaint that the required notice of a proposed zoning by-law amendment was not posted on the relevant property, the municipality changed its practices.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

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.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

December 6, 2018

6 December, 2018

Township of Tehkummah

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding four meetings held by council for the Township of Tehkummah in June 2018. The complainant told my Office that the exterior doors to the municipal administration were locked during two council meetings and that insufficient public notice was provided for two more council meetings. During our review, we identified several best practices to enhance the accountability and transparency of the Township’s council meetings.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 22, 2018

22 November, 2018

Town of Carleton Place

The Ombudsman received a complaint about the June 12, 2018 closed meeting of the Policy Review Committee for the Town of Carleton Place. The complaint alleged that the committee’s discussion about the sale of two municipally-owned properties and a related discussion regarding water and sewer services did not fit within the “acquisition or disposition of land” exception in the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found that the closed session fit within the exception.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

October 31, 2018

31 October, 2018

Municipality of Callander

The Ombudsman received a complaint that one regular meeting of council, four special meetings of council and two committee of the whole meetings were held without posting notice online, as required by the procedure bylaw. The municipality provided information to the Ombudsman confirming that notice for four of the meetings was posted online in accordance with the bylaw. The municipality could not confirm whether notice was given/ the agenda posted for the February 20, 2018 committee of the whole meeting. The procedure by-law requires at least 48 hours notice of special meetings be given to members of council, and that the notice shall be posted online and at the municipal office immediately afterwards. The notice for February 27, 2018 special meeting was posted online less than 36 hours before the meeting. The Ombudsman encouraged the municipality to ensure that it meets its obligations under the procedure by-law in future.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

October 2, 2018

2 October, 2018

City of Owen Sound Downtown Improvement Area

The Ombudsman received a complaint about the August 8, 2018 closed meeting of the board of directors for the Owen Sound Downtown Improvement Area. The complaint alleged that the board’s discussion about its response to an open letter did not fit within the “personal matters” closed meeting exception in the Municipal Act, 2001. The complaint also alleged that the DIA provided insufficient notice of four meetings that occurred in the summer of 2018. The Ombudsman found that the closed session discussion did not fit within the exceptions for closed meetings set out in the Municipal Act. He also found that the DIA complied with the notice requirements in its procedure by-law, although until recently, its website provided inaccurate information about the board’s meeting schedule.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

August 21, 2018

21 August, 2018

Village of Casselman

The Ombudsman investigated a complaint about two information sessions on March 7, 2018 attended by a quorum of council for the Village of Casselman. During these sessions, the council members in attendance received information and updates with respect to the business of the municipality. However, his investigation did not uncover evidence that the council members in attendance at the sessions “materially advanced” the business or decision-making of council. These sessions were therefore not “meetings” under the definition in the Municipal Act, 2001 that came into force on January 1, 2018. In the interests of openness and transparency, the Ombudsman suggested that council members receive information and updates about the business of the municipality during public meetings of council.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

August 15, 2018

15 August, 2018

Town of Deep River

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Town of Deep River held a vote in closed session on May 16, 2018 that did not comply with the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that council voted during the closed session to direct staff which is permitted by the Municipal Act.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

July 18, 2018

18 July, 2018

Press Pause

Investigation into a meeting of council for the Regional Municipality of Niagara on December 7, 2017. 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

July 3, 2018

3 July, 2018

Village of Casselman

The Ombudsman received a complaint about a closed meeting of council for the Village of Casselman on January 9, 2018 and about discussions that took place among council members at town hall on January 11, 2018. The Ombudsman found that council for the Village did not violate the open meeting rules when it went into closed session to discuss human resources matters on January 9, 2018 and when a quorum of councillors had informal discussions at town hall on January 11, 2018. However, the Ombudsman made best practice suggestions relating to the Town’s closed meeting procedures.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 29, 2018

29 June, 2018

Township of The North Shore

The Ombudsman received complaints about three meetings of council for The North Shore, alleging that subjects discussed in the December 13, 2017 and February 7, 2018 closed sessions did not fit within the “personal matters” exception, and that the resolution on December 13, 2017, to proceed into closed session did not include all matters discussed. The complaint also alleged the township did not give notice of a special meeting held on February 14, 2018. The Ombudsman found that the subject matters discussed by council on December 13, 2017, fit within the exceptions in the Municipal Act, but that the township  failed to include all subject matters discussed during the closed session in the resolution to proceed into closed session. He also found that council violated the Municipal Act during the closed session on February 7, 2018, when it discussed how to fill a council vacancy. The Ombudsman found that the township did provide public notice of its February 14, 2018 meeting, but recommended that the township amend its procedure bylaw to formalize its general practices for giving notice.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 29, 2018

29 June, 2018

Town of Amherstburg

The Ombudsman received three complaints that several closed meetings held by council for the Town of Amherstburg and the Joint Police Advisory Committee did not comply with the open meeting rules in the Municipal Act. The Joint Police Advisory Committee does not fall under the definition of “committee” under the Municipal Act, so the Ombudsman used his general jurisdiction over municipalities to consider whether the committee violated its terms of reference. The Ombudsman found the committee failed to comply with its terms of reference in closing several meetings using the security of the property exception. The Ombudsman found council violated the Municipal Act in closing a meeting under the security of the property exception but did not violate the Act by closing another meeting under the personal matters exception. 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 29, 2018

29 June, 2018

Township of Front of Yonge

The Ombudsman received a complaint that an informal meeting of council occurred after the April 16, 2018 meeting of council. The complainant alleged that three members of council remained after the meeting finished and discussed purchasing recycling bins for the Township. The Ombudsman found that an informal meeting did not occur and identified best practice suggestions to improve the Township’s record keeping practices.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 26, 2018

26 June, 2018

Hits the spot

When a woman hit a pothole on a county road that damaged her vehicle, she tried to seek reimbursement.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 26, 2018

26 June, 2018

Up to code

A man contacted us after getting no response to a complaint about his local Chief Building Official.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 26, 2018

26 June, 2018

Making it clear

A woman renting a basement apartment sought our help after a municipal construction crew broke a water pipe near her unit, flooding her apartment and damaging her belongings.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 26, 2018

26 June, 2018

Faster lane

We helped a man who waited more than a year to hear back from his municipality about purchasing a portion of the laneway behind his house.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 26, 2018

26 June, 2018

Code found

A mall developer told us that local councillors were interfering with the development of her project, but she believed the municipality did not have a code of conduct or integrity commissioner.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 7, 2018

7 June, 2018

Township of Russell

The Ombudsman received a complaint about a meeting of council held on May 22, 2018. The complainant alleged that the resolution to proceed into closed session was not sufficiently detailed, and that the subject of the meeting was not appropriate for closed session. In a letter to the township, the Ombudsman noted that the resolution referenced the general subject matter to be discussed, and that the closed meeting fit within the exceptions set out in the Municipal Act.
 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 31, 2018

31 May, 2018

Township of Tehkummah

My Office received a complaint about a special meeting of council for the Township of Tehkummah held on May 15, 2018. The complainant told my Office that the public was not provided with notice of the meeting. Township staff confirmed that notice was inadvertently not posted ahead of the meeting. The Ombudsman reminded the township of its obligations under the Municipal Act.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 28, 2018

28 May, 2018

Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula inappropriately met in closed session on January 22, 2018 to discuss notice of an application for absolute title under the Land Titles Act for a property located within the municipality. The meeting was closed under the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman found that matters discussed during the closed meeting did not fit within the exceptions to the open meeting rules. 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 25, 2018

25 May, 2018

Township of Russell

The Ombudsman received a complaint that a non-council member motioned to move into closed session during the Township of Russell’s special meeting on April 19, 2018. He also received a complaint that the motion did not provide sufficient information about council’s intended discussion. In a letter to the municipality, the Ombudsman noted that the Municipal Act, 2001 provides that the powers of a municipality shall be exercised by council and reminded the Township that resolutions to proceed in camera should provide a general description of the issue to be discussed. The Ombudsman did not make any recommendations.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 22, 2018

22 May, 2018

Town of Petrolia

We received complaints that the Town of Petrolia held meetings that did not comply with the open meeting rules when it discussed a proposal by the YMCA in camera on September 11 and October 25, 2017, and when it discussed an individual in closed session on November 14, 2017. The Ombudsman found that a presentation given by the YMCA to council on September 11, 2017 did not fit in any of the exceptions to the Act. He found that a discussion that followed the presentation fit in the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations. The Ombudsman found that the discussion on October 25, 2017 also fit within the exception for labour relations, and that the discussion on November 14, 2017 fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 17, 2018

17 May, 2018

City of Hamilton

The City of Hamilton’s Waste Management Advisory Committee is a committee of council subject to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman found that the committee contravened the Municipal Act on September 27, 2017 and January 31, 2018, when it held meetings without providing notice to the public.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 9, 2018

9 May, 2018

Town of Deep River

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Town of Deep River inappropriately met in closed session on March 21, 2018, to discuss a development proposal and various fire service issues. The Ombudsman found that council did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 because these discussions fit with the Act’s closed meeting exceptions. No recommendations were made.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

April 19, 2018

19 April, 2018

Town of Pelham

We received complaints that a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Pelham on September 5, 2017 about town finances did not comply with the open meeting rules in the Municipal Act, 2001. We also received a complaint alleging that following the September 5, 2017 council meeting, members of council held a gathering at a local establishment that constituted an illegal meeting. The Ombudsman found that the matters discussed in camera on September 5 fit within the exceptions for labour relations and solicitor-client privilege. He also found that the informal gathering was not a meeting subject to the open meeting rules, as council members did not discuss council business.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

April 18, 2018

18 April, 2018

Township of Tehkummah

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Township of Tehkummah did not provide proper notice to the public for a special closed council meeting held on December 22, 2017. The Ombudsman found that the township’s discussion fit within the cited “personal matters” exception, as well as the “labor relations” exception.  However, the Ombudsman found that the township contravened the Act and the township’s procedure by-law by failing to provide proper public notice. The Ombudsman also found a number of issues with council’s procedures, and identified best practices and procedural steps to improve the township's meeting practices. 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

April 18, 2018

18 April, 2018

Town of Fort Erie

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Town of Fort Erie inappropriately met in camera on December 4, and December 6, 2017 under the “acquisition or disposition of land” exception to the Municipal Act’s open meeting rules. The December 4 and December 6 special closed meetings were to discuss a potential partnership with a post-secondary institution. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussions did not fit within the Act’s “acquisition or disposition of land” exception because council was in the early stages of deciding whether to proceed with the partnership, had not turned its mind to a specific property to purchase or lease, and was not acting with a view to protecting its bargaining position in property negotiations.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

April 11, 2018

11 April, 2018

By-law Surprise

Investigation into the reasonableness and transparency of by-law enforcement and billing practices in the Township of St. Clair and the County of Lambton.
 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

January 9, 2018

9 January, 2018

Township of North Huron

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Township of North Huron inappropriately met in closed session on December 11, 2017, to discuss fire personnel issues. The Ombudsman found that council did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 because the discussion fit with the “personal matters about an identifiable individual” and the “labour relations or employee negotiations” closed meeting exceptions. No recommendations were made.
 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

January 4, 2018

4 January, 2018

Township of Lanark Highlands

We received a complaint that council for the Township of Lanark Highlands inappropriately met in camera on July 17, 2017 under the “advice subject to solicitor client privilege” and “personal matters” exceptions to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that council discussed a number of items while in camera that were not included in the closed meeting agenda. Two of the topics of discussion, financial software and council’s interaction and communication structure with staff, did not fit within the closed meeting exceptions.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

December 5, 2017

5 December, 2017

City of Cornwall

The Ombudsman received a complaint that the City of Cornwall inappropriately met with council for the Township of South Glengarry in closed session on September 19, 2017, to discuss the Cornwall Regional Airport. The complainant alleged that council for the City of Cornwall discussed matters and provided directions to staff that did not fit within the cited “personal matters” closed meeting exception in the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the cited exception to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements, although the resolution to proceed in camera did not state the general nature of the matter to be considered.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 30, 2017

30 November, 2017

Township of Russell

We received a complaint that council for the Township of Russell held a meeting that did not comply with the open meeting rules when the public entrance to Town Hall was locked during a portion of a council meeting on July 31, 2017. Although the meeting was intended to be open to the public, a locked exterior public door prevented members of the public from accessing council chambers for the first half of the meeting. As a result, the meeting was closed to the public and the public’s right to observe municipal government in process was frustrated, contrary to the open meeting rules.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 24, 2017

24 November, 2017

City of Welland

We received a complaint that the City of Welland held an improper vote during a closed session on September 19, 2017, to appoint a new member of council. The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Welland had contravened the Municipal Act, 2001, and the city’s procedure by-law when it discussed voting procedure in closed session under the “personal matters exception”. In addition, the Ombudsman found that council for the City of Welland contravened the Municipal Act and the City’s procedure by-law when it voted in closed session by secret ballot to select a candidate to appoint to the vacant council seat.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 23, 2017

23 November, 2017

Town of Georgina

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Town of Georgina inappropriately met in camera to discuss an organizational review of certain departments within the town administration as part of a larger service delivery review. The Ombudsman determined that council’s discussion fit within the personal matters and labour relations exceptions to the open meeting rules.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 21, 2017

21 November, 2017

Town of Kirkland Lake

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding the general meeting practices of the Town of Kirkland Lake’s Recreation Committee. The complaint alleged that the Recreation Committee held closed meetings by not providing proper notice to the public in contravention of the Municipal Act. The Ombudsman determined that the Recreation Committee was a committee of council, and therefore subject to the Act’s open meeting requirements.  The Ombudsman found that the Recreation Committee’s meeting practices contravened these requirements.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

October 23, 2017

23 October, 2017

Town of Carleton Place

On March 14, 2017 the Policy Review Committee for the Town of Carleton place met in closed session to discuss a public statement made by the Mayor, citing the “litigation or potential litigation” exception. The Ombudsman received a complaint that this discussion did not fit within the cited exception. The Ombudsman found that there was not a reasonable prospect of litigation at the time of the closed meeting and the discussion did not fit within the “litigation or potential litigation” exception.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

October 3, 2017

3 October, 2017

Town of Deep River

The Ombudsman received a complaint alleging that council for the Town of Deep River inappropriately met in camera on May 17 and 18, 2017 to discuss a police service consultation plan. The complainant also alleged that a police service consultation “working group” formed during the May 18 closed meeting should have been classified as a committee of council subject to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman found that council for the Town of Deep River contravened the Municipal Act when it went in camera to discuss and vote on matters related to the police service consultation plan. The Ombudsman also found that the police service consultation “working group” was not a committee of council and therefore not subject to the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

September 22, 2017

22 September, 2017

City of Hamilton

We received a complaint that the City of Hamilton’s General Issues Committee discussed funding for certain transit routes known as “school bus extras” during a closed session on either March 23 or 24, 2017, contrary to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that the committee technically contravened the open meeting rules when the bus routes issue was raised briefly during a closed meeting on March 24, 2017. Once the committee determined that the issue did not fit within any of the exceptions to the open meeting rules, it ended the discussion. The Ombudsman commended city staff and council members for being mindful of the open meeting rules during the meeting, but recommend the city exercise greater caution when adding items to a closed session agenda in the future, and that the city begin audio or video recording all closed meetings.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

August 21, 2017

21 August, 2017

Public Notice

Investigation into a complaint about the Elliot Lake Residential Development Commission.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

August 14, 2017

14 August, 2017

Municipality of Brighton

The Ombudsman received a complaint that members of council for the Municipality of Brighton discussed council business by phone in advance of a special meeting of council on March 15, 2017. The Ombudsman determined that the Mayor called four councillors in a series of phone calls to discuss an opportunity to sell land in the municipality’s industrial park. During the phone calls, members of council discussed specific terms of a proposal that was ultimately sent to a party interested in purchasing the property. The Ombudsman found that the phone calls contravened the Municipal Act.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

August 9, 2017

9 August, 2017

City of Elliot Lake

The Ombudsman received two complaints that council for the City of Elliot Lake inappropriately met in camera to discuss a motion to rescind a previous resolution regarding the recruitment of a CAO. The Ombudsman determined that the city did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001. The discussion fit within the “personal matters about an identifiable individual” closed meeting exception. No recommendations were made. 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

July 5, 2017

5 July, 2017

Norfolk County

On March 14, 2017 council for the County of Norfolk went in closed session to receive a deputation from representatives of the Port Dover Community Health Centre Board and to receive legal advice pertaining to the deputation, citing the “personal matters” and “advice subject to solicitor-client privilege” exceptions. The Ombudsman received a complaint that this discussion did not fit within the cited exceptions. The Ombudsman found that the Board’s deputation did not qualify as personal information and that portion of the closed session meeting did not fit within the “personal matters” exception. The portions of the closed session discussion before and after the deputation fit within the “advice subject to solicitor-client privilege” exception.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 30, 2017

30 June, 2017

Municipality of St.-Charles

The Ombudsman received a complaint that the General Government Committee for the Municipality of St.-Charles inappropriately met in camera on March 6, 2017, to discuss allegations regarding employee municipal credit card abuse. The Ombudsman determined that the committee’s discuss fit within the “litigation or potential litigation” and the “personal matters about an identifiable individual” closed meeting exceptions. The Ombudsman also recommended that the municipality update its procedure by-law to reflect the closed meeting provisions in the Municipal Act, 2001.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 27, 2017

27 June, 2017

All wet

After a man complained to us that his municipality had not responded to his letter about flood damage to his basement, municipal staff initially told us they didn’t answer because they deemed the complaint to be without merit.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 27, 2017

27 June, 2017

Building good policies

A man who had a complaint about his municipality’s chief building official contacted our Office because his municipality did not have a code of conduct in place, even though this is required by the Building Code Act.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 27, 2017

27 June, 2017

Rude awakening

A man complained to his municipality after a member of council called him names in an email. He was not satisfied when the mayor offered to bring him and the councillor together for a private meeting.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 27, 2017

27 June, 2017

Sold out

A man contacted our Office after his municipality closed and sold a road allowance adjacent to his property. His family had used the land to access the river, but they were not notified by the municipality or given the chance to purchase a portion of the land, contrary to municipal policy.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 16, 2017

16 June, 2017

Township of Tehkummah

The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding five closed meetings held by council for the Township of Tehkummah. During our review of the minutes and materials from these meetings, we identified several best practices to enhance the accountability and transparency of Tehkummah’s meetings. These best practices related to the type of information that should be included in meeting minutes and resolutions to proceed in camera, as well as how to share information following council’s return from a closed meeting. We also encouraged the municipality to adopt the best practice of audio or video recording its open and closed meetings. 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 31, 2017

31 May, 2017

Counter Encounter

Investigation into a complaint about the Township of Red Rock.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 17, 2017

17 May, 2017

Town of Grimsby

We received two complaints that council for the Town of Grimsby held meetings in its capacity as a shareholder of Niagara Power Inc. without providing notice to the public, contrary to the open meeting rules. The complaints alleged that, on November 11 and December 5, 2016, council failed to provide public notice of meetings and did not make meeting minutes available to the public. The Ombudsman found that Council for the Town of Grimsby contravened the Municipal Act and the municipality’s procedure by-law when it discussed council business in camera on November 11, 2016 without providing notice to the public. The town also violated the Act by failing to pass a resolution to close the meeting. Council for the Town of Grimsby did not contravene the Act when it met informally on December 5, 2016, as this was not a “meeting” for the purposes of the Act.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 12, 2017

12 May, 2017

City of Niagara Falls

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the City of Niagara Falls discussed and voted on the sale of property in camera. The complainant alleged that the discussion was not permitted in closed session because the sale price was established, such that the municipality did not have a bargaining position to protect. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit with the exception, as no final decision had been made about whether or not to accept the offer. The Ombudsman also found that council did not vote on the matter in camera. A number of best practice recommendations were provided to the municipality, including with respect to the content of minutes and the quality of audio recordings.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 10, 2017

10 May, 2017

Township of Alfred and Plantagenet

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet had held illegal closed meetings in 2016 to discuss an organizational study of the municipality. The complaint also alleged that council improperly voted by email to approve funding related to a grant application. The Ombudsman found that the Township contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 and it procedure by-law when it voted during a closed session on April 4, 2016 and when it held three meetings without following any of the procedural requirements for meetings of council. The Ombudsman also found that the Township contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it approved funding related to a grant application by email and by telephone.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 9, 2017

9 May, 2017

City of Timmins

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the City of Timmins held an illegal meeting on March 30, 2015 when it met in closed session to discuss an open procurement project. The Ombudsman determined that council’s discussion did not fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception or any other exception to the open meeting rules.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 3, 2017

3 May, 2017

Township of Russell

On December 12, 2016 council for the Township of Russell went in closed session to discuss naming rights for a new sports facility, citing the “personal matters” and “litigation or potential litigation” exceptions.  The Ombudsman received a complaint that this discussion did not fit within any of the exceptions to the open meeting requirements under the Municipal Act. The Ombudsman found that the general discussion pertained to fundraising, naming rights and advertising for the sports facility, not to personal matters. There also was no discussion of potential litigation. Accordingly, the meeting was not permitted to be closed to the public.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

April 21, 2017

21 April, 2017

City of Timmins

Council for the City of Timmins contravened the Municipal Act on December 19, 2016 when it met in camera with a representative of Northern College to discuss a proposed development agreement with the college. The discussion between council and college’s representative did not fall within the acquisition or disposition of land exception to the Act’s open meeting requirement.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

April 3, 2017

3 April, 2017

Town of Fort Erie - Board of Management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area

We received a complaint that the Board of Management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the Town of Fort Erie discussed a matter in camera on November 2, 2016 contrary to the open meeting rules. BIA boards are local boards subject to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that the matter discussed by the board in camera fit within the exceptions for personal matters about an identifiable individual, and labour relations or employee negotiations. However, the board committed procedural violations by failing to pass a resolution before going in camera, failing to record meeting minutes, and voting in a closed meeting. The Ombudsman recognized that most of the board members were volunteers who had not received training on the open meeting rules, and recommended that the Town of Fort Erie ensure all members of its local boards receive such training.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

March 6, 2017

6 March, 2017

Procuring Progress

Investigation into the City of Brampton’s procurement practices, focusing on the administration of its purchasing by-laws, policies and procedures regarding non-competitive procurements.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

March 1, 2017

1 March, 2017

City of London

The Ombudsman received a complaint that the November 1, 2016 meeting of London’s Corporate Services Committee was illegally closed to the public to discuss a general policy matter. The Ombudsman found that, while there is no exception to the open meeting requirements that authorizes general policy discussions to take place behind closed doors, the in camera discussion at this meeting was permitted under the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

February 17, 2017

17 February, 2017

City of London

The Ombudsman received complaints that the City of London held illegal closed meetings on May 17 and June 23, 2016, to discuss the appointment of an integrity commissioner, and a recent report of the integrity commissioner. The Ombudsman found that the May 17 Committee of the Whole meeting was permitted to be closed to the public under the solicitor-client privilege and personal matters exceptions, and the June 23 council meeting was permitted to be closed to the public under the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

February 13, 2017

13 February, 2017

Municipality of Brockton

We received complaints alleging that the Walkerton Business Improvement Area and the Municipality of Brockton held three improperly closed meetings on June 13, June 20, and September 27, 2016. The Ombudsman determined that the Walkerton Business Improvement Area did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 on June 13 because the discussion between three board members was not a “meeting” under the Act and was not subject to the Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman also determined that council for the Municipality of Brockton did not contravene the Act on June 20, 2016, when it met in camera to discuss matters that were subject to “litigation or potential litigation”. However, on September 27, 2016, the municipality contravened the Act when a quorum of councillors attended an information session related to a Drainage Act petition.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

February 9, 2017

9 February, 2017

Municipality of Temagami

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the municipality of Temagami held illegal closed sessions on April 28 and August 11, 2016. The Ombudsman found that the discussions held in camera at the April 28 meeting fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception to the open meeting requirements, and the discussions at the August 11 meeting fit within the personal matters exception.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

January 24, 2017

24 January, 2017

Township of Laird

We received a complaint that the Laird Fairgrounds Management Board held a meeting that did not comply with the open meeting rules on August 10, 2016.  The board is a committee of the Township of Laird. The committee did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 or the Township of Laird’s procedure by-law when it discussed a matter in camera on August 10, 2016. The discussion fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

January 23, 2017

23 January, 2017

City of Timmins

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the City of Timmins held two illegal closed session discussions on August 8, 2016 and August 29, 2016, about the City’s Canada Day 150 Celebrations. The Ombudsman determined that council contravened the Municipal Act when it went in camera on August 8, 2016 under the solicitor-client advice exception and that council should not have voted during that closed session. The Ombudsman found that council did not contravene the  Municipal Act when it went in camera on August 29, 2016 under the solicitor-client advice exception.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

January 23, 2017

23 January, 2017

City of Timmins

Council for the City of Timmins contravened the Municipal Act on June 27, 2016 when it went in camera to discuss the recruitment process to replace the retiring CAO. The discussion did not fall within the personal matters exception to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman also found that council should not have voted in closed session to form a hiring committee and voted by way of secret ballot on the membership of council members to that committee. 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

January 20, 2017

20 January, 2017

City of Greater Sudbury

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council went in camera to discuss a report regarding contracts between the city and a transit ticket kiosk. The complaint also alleged that council voted while in camera to write off an uncollectible account, prior to voting on the matter in open session on May 31, 2016.

The Ombudsman determined that council did not contravene the Municipal Act when it went in camera to discuss the report on March 2 and March 23, 2016 under the personal matters and solicitor-client privilege exceptions, or on April 26, 2016 under the personal matters exception. The Ombudsman also found that council did not improperly vote on the uncollectible account during a closed meeting.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

January 19, 2017

19 January, 2017

Township of Georgian Bay

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Township of Georgian Bay held illegal closed session discussions on October 13, 2015 and January 11, 2016, about a shoreline structure that did not meet the requirements of the zoning by-law. The Ombudsman determined that council did not contravene the Municipal Act when it went in camera at these meetings under the litigation or potential litigation exception. However, council contravened the Act when it voted during its in camera meeting on October 13, 2015.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

December 29, 2016

29 December, 2016

Niagara District Airport Commission

The Niagara District Airport Commission contravened the Municipal Act on July 14, 2016, when it went in camera to discuss ongoing airport fee negotiations and related airport upgrades. This meeting did not fall within the “advice subject to solicitor-client privilege” exception, or any exception, to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman also made recommendations to improve the commission’s procedure by-law and its process for providing information to the public about closed session discussions.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

December 22, 2016

22 December, 2016

City of Elliot Lake

The City of Elliot Lake's Ad Hoc Multi-Use Committee is a committee of council subject to the Municipal Act's open meeting requirements. The committee violated the open meeting requirements and the city's procedural by-law on March 22, 2016 and May 5, 2016 when it held meetings without providing notice to the public. 

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

December 13, 2016

13 December, 2016

Township of Hornepayne

The Township of Hornepayne’s Nuclear Waste Community Liaison Committee is a committee of council subject to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. The committee contravened the Act and the township’s procedure by-law on January 12, 2016, when it held a meeting without providing any notice to the public.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 14, 2016

14 November, 2016

Town of Grimsby

Council for the Town of Grimsby contravened the Municipal Act and the municipality’s procedure by-law when it discussed a municipally-controlled corporation, Niagara Power Inc., in camera on May 2, 2016. The discussion did not fit within any of the exceptions to the open meeting rules. There is no exception in the Act for discussions about sensitive business information.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 8, 2016

8 November, 2016

Billing bungle

A man complained after he received a municipal hydro bill of $1,300, when his normal monthly bill was around $29.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 8, 2016

8 November, 2016

Fee factor

A homeowner complained that a $1,950 fee he paid to make a severance application was not refunded when his application was denied.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 8, 2016

8 November, 2016

Snow problem

A man told our Office he had tried for 10 years to find out why the municipality removed the snow from the sidewalk in front of his neighbours’ homes, but not his.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 7, 2016

7 November, 2016

Norfolk County

The Ombudsman received complaints that council for the County of Norfolk met illegally in a closed meeting on May 24, 2016 to discuss the development of a site-specific zoning by-law for an area in the county known as Hastings Drive. The complaints also alleged that council improperly voted during the closed meeting to remove an option for the zoning by-law from consideration. The Ombudsman determined that council did not contravene the Municipal Act when it went in camera on May 24, 2016 under the litigation or potential litigation exception and the solicitor-client privilege exception. The Ombudsman also found that council did not improperly vote during the closed meeting. One of the complaints alleged that the resolution to proceed in camera was vague. Given the nature of the discussions (solicitor-client privileged advice), the Ombudsman found that the resolution to proceed in camera was sufficient.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

November 3, 2016

3 November, 2016

City of Niagara Falls

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the City of Niagara Falls violated the Municipal Act when it voted in closed session to commit $10 million towards a proposed partnership with a post-secondary institution. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within any of the closed meeting exceptions and that as a result, council was not entitled to vote in closed session on a resolution directing staff to proceed with the partnership.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

September 30, 2016

30 September, 2016

Uncredited

A man complained to us that he received a water bill and a late payment penalty even though he had a $600 credit with the utility. Our staff contacted the municipality and discovered that the man’s original account had been closed and a new account had been set up without the credit being transferred over.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

September 27, 2016

27 September, 2016

Municipality of West Nipissing

We received a complaint that the Municipality of West Nipissing failed to provide sufficient notice to the public in advance of a July 21, 2016 special council meeting. The municipality’s procedure by-law failed to set a public notice requirement for special meetings. West Nipissing has now amended its procedure by-law to provide for public notice of all meetings.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

September 14, 2016

14 September, 2016

Town of Goderich

The Ombudsman received a complaint that the Recreation Board of Management and Board’s Ad Hoc Committee in the Town of Goderich held meetings in 2015 and 2016 that did not comply with the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act. The Ombudsman found that the Recreation Board of Management falls within the Municipal Act’s definition of a “local board” and is subject to the Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman cautioned the Board to be vigilant in adhering to the requirements of the Municipal Act in the future when it forms committees. The Ombudsman noted that, the Board and the Ad Hoc Committee include volunteer members who acted in good faith for the benefit of the community. A number of recommendations were made to assist the Board in improving its open meeting practices.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

September 8, 2016

8 September, 2016

Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands had discussed a zoning by-law application over email. The Ombudsman determined that council violated the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act by discussing council business over email and recommended that council cease its practice of discussing council business using quorum emails or any other electronic format.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

September 8, 2016

8 September, 2016

Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands discussed reassignment of the Chief Administrative Officer’s duties during a closed meeting held on April 18, 2016. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual, but cautioned that council’s resolution to proceed in camera should provide more information about the subjects to be discussed in closed session.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

August 31, 2016

31 August, 2016

Rental funding issues

A woman applied for Ontario Works benefits and was told she qualified for $1,850 to cover the first and last month's rent payments for an apartment she was moving into in August.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

August 11, 2016

11 August, 2016

Township of Woolwich

The Ombudsman received a complaint that committee of the whole for the Township of Woolwich held an improper closed meeting between the closed and open sessions on March 22, 2016 at which they made a decision on an upcoming delegation. The Ombudsman found no evidence that a quorum of the committee discussed the delegation as a group behind closed doors, or laid the groundwork for a decision on the delegation.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

August 5, 2016

5 August, 2016

Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton BIA)

The Ombudsman received a complaint that on June 8, 2016, the board of directors for the Walkerton Business Improvement Area discussed matters that did not fall within the exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the exception for litigation or potential litigation.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

August 2, 2016

2 August, 2016

City of Sault Ste. Marie

The Ombudsman received a complaint that council for the City of Sault Ste. Marie discussed matters that did not fall within the exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001 during a closed meeting on October 13, 2015. During the meeting, council received a presentation by the City’s Fire Chief. The Ombudsman determined that the meeting fit within the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

July 29, 2016

29 July, 2016

No parking

A ​woman who was working temporarily in Ontario and renting a house with no private parking complained to us when the municipality denied her a street parking permit because her vehicle had out-of-province plates.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

July 19, 2016

19 July, 2016

City of Brockville

Our Office received two complaints about the March 7, 2016 meeting held by the OPP Contact Adhoc Committee for the City of Brockville. Both complaints alleged that the committee’s meeting with representatives of the Ontario Provincial Police did not come within the Municipal Act's closed meeting exception for “education and training” sessions. The Ombudsman determined that the committee did not contravene the Act when it went in camera to acquire education and training about the OPP costing process. However, in addition to receiving this general information from the OPP, the committee decided to advance the costing process by voting to direct staff to approach an audit firm to assess the OPP costing proposal once the city receives it. This discussion and direction to staff advanced the committee’s business and decision-making and did not fall within the “education and training” exception, or any exception, to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman also identified various procedural issues with the committee's practices.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

July 19, 2016

19 July, 2016

City of Hamilton

The Ombudsman received a complaint that the Election Compliance Audit Committee for the City of Hamilton held a “deliberation” on July 15, 2015 that was illegally closed to the public. The Ombudsman determined that the city's Election Compliance Audit Committee falls within the Municipal Act’s definition of a “local board” and is subject to the Act’s open meeting requirements. The committee contravened the Act on July 15, 2015, when it met in private to deliberate on various applications that were before the committee. Notice of the meeting was not provided, no procedure was followed to close the meeting to the public, and even if this procedure had been followed, the committee’s discussion did not fall within any of the Act’s closed meeting exceptions.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

July 19, 2016

19 July, 2016

City of Oshawa

The Ombudsman received four complaints about a meeting held by council for the City of Oshawa on December 17, 2015. Each complaint alleged that council’s meeting with the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation on that date did not come within the Municipal Act’s closed meeting exception for “education and training” sessions. The Ombudsman found that council for the City of Oshawa contravened the Municipal Act on December 17, 2015, when it went in camera to obtain information about a proposed merger between OPUC and Veridian. This meeting did not fall within the “education and training” exception, or any exception, to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. A number of recommendations were made to assist the city in improving its open meeting practices.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

July 6, 2016

6 July, 2016

Town of Amherstburg

We received a complaint that council for the Town of Amherstburg discussed approval of the town’s accounts payable over email during December 2014 and January 2015. We also received complaints that council discussed items in closed meetings on October 14 and 26, 2015 that did not fit within the exceptions to the open meeting rules.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 6, 2016

6 June, 2016

Norfolk County

We received complaints that council for Norfolk County discussed matters that did not fall within the exceptions in the Municipal Act, 2001 during closed meetings on January 19 and February 16, 2016.

The Ombudsman found that the discussion on January 19 fit within the exceptions for solicitor-client privilege, and litigation or potential litigation. The Ombudsman found that the February 16 discussion fit within the exception for personal matters about identifiable individuals. ​

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

June 3, 2016

3 June, 2016

Town of Midland

The Ombudsman found that council for the Town of Midland violated the Municipal Act on September 14, 2015 when it discussed in camera matters relating to a housing development that did not fit within any exception to the open meeting rules. References during the discussion to personal matters about an individual were not the focus of the conversation and did not justify holding the discussion in camera. Council also contravened the Act when it voted on the housing matter during an illegal closed meeting.

The Ombudsman found that Midland council did not contravene the open meeting rules on October 13, 2015, as its discussions fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

On both dates, council for Midland violated a procedural requirement in the Act by failing to state by resolution the general nature of the matters to be considered in the closed sessions.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 19, 2016

19 May, 2016

City of Greater Sudbury

Our Office received a complaint that Greater Sudbury's council held an illegal closed meeting on April 7, 2016 when it attended a roundtable with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The roundtable was closed to the media and the public. Our review determined that a meeting for the purposes of the Municipal Act did not occur since there was no discussion between council members of council business or the laying of groundwork for council business. Council members directly addressed their comments regarding the community needs and opportunities to the Prime Minister.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 10, 2016

10 May, 2016

Norfolk County

Our Office received a complaint that Norfolk County's council-in-committee held an illegal closed meeting on December 1, 2015 when it went in camera to discuss whether to approve a legal services contract extension with two law firms. Our investigation determined that the majority of the committee's discussion did not fall within any of the exceptions to the Municipal Act’s open meeting requirements. The Ombudsman made a number of recommendations to improve local practices in the interest of transparency and accountability.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

May 6, 2016

6 May, 2016

The Nation Municipality

Our Office received a complaint that council for The Nation Municipality held an illegal closed meeting on August 31, 2015 when it restricted access to a council meeting to those who could fit inside the Town Hall, and prohibited individuals from using a microphone and speakers to broadcast the meeting proceedings outside in the parking lot.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

April 29, 2016

29 April, 2016

Clarifying our jurisdiction

A town clerk contacted our office after the local council, which was considering establishing a code of conduct, expressed the view that it did not need to appoint an Integrity Commissioner, because any complaints related to the code of conduct could be forwarded to the Ombudsman for review.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

April 19, 2016

19 April, 2016

Township of Russell

We received a complaint that council for the Township of Russell discussed items in closed session on December 7, 2015, that did not fit within the exceptions to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that council contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 when it discussed councillor remuneration in closed session. However, council did not contravene the Act when it went in camera to discuss changes to township employee compensation. Portions of the discussion relating to the salaries of identified municipal employees fell within the closed meeting exception for personal information about an identifiable individual. Other portions of the discussion relating to the township’s compensation strategy and proposed changes to the salary grid fell within the closed meeting exception for labour relations or employee negotiations.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

March 31, 2016

31 March, 2016

Denied assistance

A homeless teenager who could not live with either parent was denied assistance through Ontario Works and was not provided with anything in writing about how to appeal the decision.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

February 29, 2016

29 February, 2016

Lack of clear mechanism

We received complaints of alleged violations of the councillor code of conduct in a township.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

February 24, 2016

24 February, 2016

City of London

We received two complaints that council for the City of London held an illegal closed meeting on June 10, 2015. Shortly after the meeting began, there was a disruption in the public gallery and members of the public were asked to leave the building. Once the security issue was resolved, the doors to City Hall remained locked to the public.

While the Mayor and council believed that the meeting was open to the public, the public was not actually free to enter the building in order to access council chambers to observe the meeting. Those attempting to watch the meeting did not have access to council chambers for a significant period of time while the front doors to city hall remained locked. During this time period, the meeting was not open to the public as it should have been.

The Acting Ombudsman advised the City to ensure that the public has unimpeded access to council chambers in order to observe all open meetings of council and committees, and to ensure that a formal written policy is created and implemented that sets out security protocols during meetings of council or committees.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

February 23, 2016

23 February, 2016

Town of Fort Erie

We received a complaint that on December 14, 2015, a locked security door prevented the public from accessing the room where council for the Town of Fort Erie was holding what they thought was an open meeting of council. The Acting Ombudsman found that the locked door effectively prevented the public from accessing the meeting room. As a result, the meeting was improperly closed to the public and the public’s right to observe municipal government in process was frustrated. A number of recommendations were made to assist the town in improving its open meeting practices. ​

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

February 4, 2016

4 February, 2016

Municipality of St.-Charles

We received a complaint that council for the Municipality of St.-Charles discussed items in closed meetings on May 15, 2012, June 19, 2013, and May 29, 2014 that did not fit within the exceptions to the open meeting rules. The Ombudsman found that council for St.-Charles contravened the Municipal Act when it discussed audit reports, management letters, and other auditor findings and recommendations in closed session during each of the three meetings. Discussions of individual staff performance and conduct, which ensued as a result of the review of the audit report and management letter, fell within the exceptions for personal matters and labour relations.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

January 29, 2016

29 January, 2016

Village of Casselman

Our office found that discussions of a consultant's report on July 3 and July 14, 2015 fit within the personal matters exception to the open meeting requirements. We made a number of suggestions, however, to improve the closed meeting practices of council for the Village of Casselman.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent:

January 5, 2016

5 January, 2016

Township of Russell

We received complaints about two closed meetings held by council for the Township of Russell during the afternoon and evening of August 10, 2015. Our review found that council did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001​ on the afternoon of August 10 when it went in camera to receive training on strategic planning because the discussion fell within the exception for education or training sessions. We also found that one matter discussed on the evening of August 10 fell within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual. However, our review found that three of the closed session matters discussed the evening of August 10 did not fall within any of the Act's exceptions to the open meeting requirements.

Topics include:Les sujets incluent: