Why are some meetings closed to the public?
Generally, municipal councils, local boards and their committees hold their meetings in public. They meet behind closed doors on occasion to deal with specific matters. The purpose of a closed meeting is to receive certain information or give direction.
Municipal governments in Ontario must be transparent and accountable. The provincial government 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. You can learn more by reading the Town of Innisfil’s Corporate Policy on Closed Meeting Investigations.
When can a meeting be closed to the public?
Under Section 239 of the Municipal Act, 2001, 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 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. 2001, c. 25, s. 239 (2).
- A matter authorized by another provincial statute.
- For educating and training where no member discusses or deals with a matter in a way that materially advances the business or decision-making of the council or local board.
- A meeting or part of a meeting must be closed to the public if the subject matter is related to a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Through By-law No. 105-16, the Town of Innisfil appointed Local Authority Services as a Municipal Closed Meeting Investigator and authorized them to conduct investigations upon receipt of a complaint in respect of meetings or part of meetings that are closed to the public to determine compliance with the Act or Procedural By-law No. 002-18 and to report on the results of such investigations.
Procedures – Request For Investigation:
Prior to submitting a request for investigation, members of the public, including corporations, are encouraged to discuss their concerns or inquiries with the Clerk.
Members of the public, including corporations, may submit requests to the Investigator relating to compliance with the Act or Procedural By-law No. 002-18 for meetings or part of meetings that are closed to the public.
The identity of the person making the request will be treated as confidential by the municipality and the Investigator, unless authorization is given by the requester to release his or her identity. See our Investigator Program Brochure for more information.
Requests may be submitted on the Request Form or otherwise in writing in a sealed envelope clearly identified as a complaint under Section 239 of the Municipal Act and forwarded by mail to:
Clerks Office, Town of Innisfil
2101 Innisfil Beach Road
Innisfil, ON L9S 1A1
Aird & Berlis LLP
Brookfield Place, 181 Bay St Suite 1800
Toronto ON, M5J 2T9
Please mark Envelope – ‘Personal and Confidential – Complaint under Section 239 of the Municipal Act 2001, as amended.