Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé received a complaint about the council’s decision to discuss the matter in camera at a September 8, 2020 meeting. The complainant alleged that the matter did not meet the requirements in the 2001 Municipal Act under which a closed session could be held.
In a letter to the council about his decision, Dubé said the township had said the matter had involved personal identification and potential litigation, both of which were exemptions under which a closed session could be held. “The clerk and mayor told us that the residents had threatened litigation against the municipality if they were dissatisfied with the resolution to the zoning issue,” he said. “We were also told that prior to the meeting, staff sought legal advice about the zoning matter and that this advice was verbally relayed to council during the meeting. We were also told that council discussed personal information about identified individuals during the closed session.”
Dubé said he was “satisfied that the subject matters discussed fell within the exceptions cited for closed meeting discussion.”