Dec 16, 2015

By Michael Kramer

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People with complaints about services within their municipalities will soon be able to have the ear of Ontario’s chief ombudsman.

That’s because – effective January 1st, Barbara Finlay’s office will have new powers to investigate complaints against municipal councils.

Her office will also have the authority to examine complaints related to public schoolboards and universities.

A report from Finlay says her office received 195 complaints about closed council meetings, reviewed 85 of them – and found 16 to be illegal. The number of complaints jumped 73 per cent from fiscal 2014.

Finlay says most breaches are the result of ignorance of the rules – but she warns councillors not to rely too heavily on email or informal meetings – to hide city business from public view.

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