Municipal councils, local boards and their committees meet behind closed doors on occasion to deal with some matters. For example, if a municipality is being sued or if Council is considering purchasing a piece of land or if Council must deal with a labour relations issue then it is appropriate that it be able to do so at a closed meeting. The purpose of such a closed meeting is to receive information or give direction.
Local government in Ontario must be transparent and accountable. To this end, the Province has set the rules for a council, local board or a committee to go into a closed meeting. These rules are found in section 239 of the Municipal Act 2001. They must be strictly followed.
The permitted reasons for going into a closed meeting are:
- 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 or 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.
If a member of the public has a complaint about a meeting or portion of a meeting being closed, and are unable to relieve their concerns by speaking with a member of council, that person is asked to fill out the following Closed Session Complaint Form
These complaints are investigated by the Municipal Investigator, who at this time is Local Authority Services (LAS). Please see the following by-law, for the purposes of providing for closed meeting investigation services By-law 67-2014 and FAQs for more information.