Closed Meetings

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Section 239 of the Municipal Act, 2001, establishes rules to ensure the transparency and accountability of municipal councils, local boards and their committees. Meetings are general open to the public. However, there may be circumstances which require a meeting, or part of a meeting, to be held in closed session.

When can a meeting be closed to the public?

A meeting or part of a meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter is:

  • The security of the property of the municipality or local board;
  • Personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees;
  • A proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board;
  • Labour relations or employee negotiation;
  • Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board;
  • Advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communication necessary for that purpose;
  • A matter authorized by another provincial statue;
  • Information explicitly supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board by Canada, a province or territory or a Crown agency or any of them;
  • 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 f persons, or organization;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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 or decision making of the Council, local board or committee.  

Steps to take if you have a concern related to a closed meeting

  1. Contact the Clerk to answer your question or concern
  2. The Ontario Ombudsman is the closed meeting investigator for the Township of Lake of Bays. His duties include:
  • Conducting an investigation when he receives a complaint about a meeting or part of a meeting that is closed to the public
  • Determining whether the meeting complied with the Municipal Act/Municipal Procedure By-law
  • Reporting the results of the investigation

How to submit a complaint

Any corporation or member of the public can submit a complaint to the investigator about a meeting or part of a meeting that is closed to the public. Complaints are always confidential. Please visit the website of the Ontario Ombudsman for more information about how to submit a complaint.

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