“My Office received a complaint about a gathering of council members and one municipal staff member for the Township of Morley (the “Township”) in a Township garage on December 14, 2022,” opens the report of Ombudsman of Ontario Paul Dubé.

Morley is a small rural Ontario municipality, “the Township’s typical staff complement consists of one part-time and two full-time employees.” The Council “is composed of a Reeve and four councillors.”

The Reeve and two of the council members met with the Public Works Superintendent at the Township office.

“They discussed whether the Public Works Superintendent had additional snowplow operators on call to assist with the specific ongoing snowfall, and asked about an ongoing process to recruit back-up snowplow operators in general.”

“Following this discussion, they also contacted and arranged for an additional snowplow operator to plow snow on the same day. These actions materially advanced the Township’s business and decision-making.”

Accordingly, because there was a quorum of council and decisions were made that advanced the business of the municipality, the Township was required to provide notice of the meeting and to conduct the business in public.