At times, the Town of Prescott must deal with matters of a confidential nature. When this situation arises, Town Council holds a closed (or in-camera) meeting. Under the Municipal Act, a municipal council, local board or a committee may close a meeting, or part of a meeting, to the public to discuss certain matters.
In order to close a meeting to the public, Council must state by resolution that a closed meeting will be held and state the general nature of the matter to be considered at the closed meeting. The Municipal Act also imposes certain restrictions on a meeting that is held without the public present by requiring that no vote be taken on any matter unless the vote is for a procedural matter or for the giving of directions or instructions to the officers of the municipality.
It is the duty of the Town Clerk to record, without note or comment, all resolutions, decisions and other proceedings of the Council.
According to the Municipal Act, any person may request an investigation into whether a municipality or local board has complied with the open meeting requirements or the procedural by-law relating to any meeting or part of a meeting that was closed to the public.
If a municipality has not appointed an investigator, the Ombudsman of Ontario has authority to investigate complaints about closed meetings. The Ombudsman's investigations are conducted at no cost to those who complain or to municipalities or local boards.
Anyone wishing to make a complaint regarding a closed meeting may complete the Closed Meeting Investigations Complaint Form online or mail it to the Ombudsman's Office.
- 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 negotiations
- Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board
- Advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose
- A matter in respect of which a council, board, committee or other body may hold a closed meeting under another Act.
- In addition, meetings of a municipal council, a local board or a committee may be closed to the public if:
- The meeting is held for the purpose of educating or training the members
- 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 of committee
- The subject matter relates to the consideration of a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the council, board, commission or other body is the head of an institution for the purposes of that Act.
Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
Bell Trinity Square
483 Bay Street, 10th Floor, South Tower