"Closed Session" Council Meetings
The term "closed session" or "in camera” means a private meeting.
While regular meetings of Council are open to the public, the Municipal Government Act (MGA) 197 (2) allows Council and council committees [to] close all or part of their meetings to the public if a matter to be discussed is within one of the exceptions to disclosure in Division 2 of Part 1 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Closed discussions are required to ensure the privacy or security of certain issues, as in the following:
- The security of property of the municipality.
- Pending acquisitions or sales of lands.
- Labour relations or details of employee negotiations.
- Personal matters regarding an individual, including municipal employees or Council and Committee or Board members.
- Litigation or potential litigation affecting the business of the municipality.
- Advice subject to solicitor-client privilege.
- FOIPP Act 23 (a) A draft resolution, bylaw or other legal instrument by which the local public body acts
- FOIPP Act 24 (a) Advice, proposals, recommendations, analyses or policy options developed by or for a public body.
- FOIPP Act 24 (g) Information, including the proposed plans, policies or projects of a public body, the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to result in disclosure of a pending policy or budgetary decision.
Before holding a meeting or part of a meeting that is to be closed to the public, Council will state the meeting will be closed to the public and the general nature of the matter(s) to be considered.
In section 197 (3) of the MGA, it details that when a meeting is closed to the public, no resolution or bylaw may be passed at the meeting, except a resolution to revert to a meeting held in public. It is important to recognize that Council must be in an open meeting of Council to vote on a motion; therefore all decisions of Council are ultimately public.
PLEASE NOTE: Given the public nature of council and committee meetings, if an individual writes to a Councillor or Clearwater County staff member, he or she should realize that all correspondence, including personal information, may be disclosed at a public council or committee meeting. Clearwater County endeavours to protect sensitive personal information disclosed in correspondence to the County (i.e. personal financial circumstances or personal health information etc.), and in these cases a severed record or summary of the information inquiry or complaint could be prepared for use at the council meeting.