Closed Meeting Investigation
The Municipal Act, 2001 provides that every municipality and local board in Ontario is mandated to enact a By-law to govern the calling, location and proceedings of their meetings under s.238.
All municipal council meetings, a local board, or a committee of either of them must be held in an open public session unless an exception applies pursuant to s.239(1) of the Municipal Act.
The Municipal Act, 2001 sets out a number of exceptions to the open meeting rule based on the subject matter of the item that the council, local board, or committee is considering (ss.239(2), (3) and (3.1)), and must follow certain procedural requirements prior to convening into a closed session.
If required, Council may meet in closed session without the public in attendance for the following matters:
(2) A meeting or part of a meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered is,
(a) the security of the property of the municipality or local board;
(b) personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees;
(c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board;
(d) labour relations or employee negotiations;
(e) litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board;
(f) advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose;
(g) a matter in respect of which a council, board, committee or other body may hold a closed meeting under another Act;
(h) information explicitly supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board by Canada, a province or territory or a Crown agency of any of them;
(i) a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization;
(j) a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial or financial information that belongs to the municipality or local board and has monetary value or potential monetary value; or
(k) a position, plan, procedure, criteria or instruction to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the municipality or local board.
(3) A meeting or part of a meeting shall be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered is,
(a) a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, if the council, board, commission or other body is the head of an institution for the purposes of that Act; or
(b) an ongoing investigation respecting the municipality, a local board or a municipally-controlled corporation by the Ombudsman appointed under the Ombudsman Act, an Ombudsman referred to in subsection 223.13 (1) of this Act, or the investigator referred to in subsection 239.2 (1).
Educational or training sessions
(3.1) A meeting of a council or local board or of a committee of either of them may be closed to the public if the following conditions are both satisfied:
1. The meeting is held for the purpose of educating or training the members.
2. At the meeting, no member discusses or otherwise deals with any matter in a way that materially advances the business or decision-making of the council, local board or committee. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 103 (1).
The Town has appointed the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate complaints about closed municipal meetings. Should you have a concern about a closed meeting of the Town, you are encouraged to confidentially speak with the Town Clerk to address your concerns. However, you may file a complaint directly with the Ombudsman's Office.