On occasion, municipal councils, local boards and their committees must meet in closed session, behind closed doors, to deal with some matters. The purpose of a closed meeting is to receive information or give direction.
Local government in Ontario must be transparent and accountable. As such, the Province has set the rules for a council, local board or a committee to go into a closed meeting within the Municipal Act, 2001, as amended. Specifically, section 239 of the Municipal Act sets out the rules for closed session meetings, which must be strictly followed.
Under section 239, the following reasons for a going into a closed meeting are permitted:
- The security of property of the municipality or local board;
- Personal matters about an identifiable individual, including employees;
- A proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land;
- Labour relations or employee negotiations;
- Litigation or potential litigation
- Advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege;
- A matter authorized by another provincial statute;
- If the subject matter relates to a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
- The meeting is held for educating and training and no member discusses or deals with a matter in a way that materially advances the business decision-making of the council or local board.
Closed Meeting Investigator
As of January 1, 2008 any person or corporation is able to request that an investigation be undertaken respecting whether a municipality or local board, or a committee of either, has complied with closed meeting rules outlined in the Municipal Act, 2001 or the applicable procedural by-law.
The Township of Guelph/Eramosa has engaged the services of Amberly Gavel, as part of the LAS Closed Meeting Investigator Program, as the Municipal Closed Meeting Investigator and has authorized this company to conduct investigations upon receipt of a complaint in respect of meetings or parts of meetings that are closed to the public. The Investigator will determine compliance with the Act or the applicable procedural by-law with respect to closed meetings and will report on the results of such investigations.
Complaints may be submitted on the established complaint form or via written request. All complaints must be submitted in a sealed envelope marked 'private and confidential' and contain the following information:
- Name of municipality
- Complainant's name, mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address (if applicable)
- Date of closed meeting under consideration
- Nature and background of the particular occurrence
- Any activities undertaken (if any) to resolve the concern
- Any other relevant information
- Original signature
Complaints may be submitted by mail or delivery directly to:
Township of Guelph/Eramosa
P.O. Box 700
8348 Wellington Road 124
Rockwood, ON N0B 2K0
ATT: Township Clerk
NOTE: Please remember to mark the sealed envelope 'PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.’ All complaints will be treated as confidential at all times and will be forwarded directly to Amberley Gavel Ltd.