The Province of Ontario has established rules for a Council, local board or a committee to go into a closed meeting through the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c.25, as amended. Any person or corporation may request that an investigation be undertaken respecting whether the closed meeting legislation has been contravened.
Municipal councils, local boards and their committees must 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, as amended. They must be strictly followed.
Closed Meeting Investigator
The Municipality has appointed Local Authority Services (LAS) as the
Closed Meeting Investigator for the Municipality and has authorized them to conduct investigations. All requests for a closed meeting investigation are submitted to LAS for review and are to investigate accordingly.
How to Request an Investigation
Members of the public, including corporations, may submit requests through the Municipal Clerk relating to compliance with the Municipal Act, 2001 for meetings or part of meetings that are closed to the public.
The identity of the requestor will be treated as confidential by the Municipality and the Investigator, unless authorization is given by the requestor to release his or her identity.
The Request Form for a closed meeting investigation is available below or at the Municipal Clerk’s office.
All complaints must contain the following information:
- The name of the municipality
- Requestor’s name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address
- Date of the closed meeting under consideration
- Nature and background of the particular occurrence
- Any activities undertaken to resolve the concern
- Any other relevant information
- Direction with respect to release of identity
- Original signature
Once the request is received by the Clerk, the Clerk will enact the following procedures:
- Ensure that the requests remain confidential
- Assign a file number and record that number on the request
- Forward the request to the Municipal Closed Meeting Investigator by regular mail
For all requests, the Municipality shall supply the Investigator with the following information or documentation as requested by the Investigator related to a complaint:
- Certified copy of Notice of Meeting
- Certified copy of the agenda
- Certified copy of the minutes of the meeting
- Relevant resolutions
- Municipal contact list
- Any other documents requested
- Other Resources
The investigator upon receipt of a request has 30 days to respond.
Please mail or hand deliver to:
Municipality of Hastings Highlands
33011 Hwy. 62 North
ATT: Municipal Clerk – Suzanne Huschilt