Open Meeting Requirements

Generally, the City and its local boards are required by law to give notice and hold all meetings in public.

The City takes a number of steps to ensure the highest degree of openness and transparency for meetings of Council and committees:

  • Notices are given for all meetings of City Council and its committees.
  • Agendas, reports, correspondence are posted on the web before meetings, and decisions and minutes are posted as soon as possible after meetings.
  • Close meetings are used only when legally permitted or required to do so, and confine the debate in those sessions to the confidential information contained in reports.
  • The amount of confidential information in reports and documents are minimized before committee and Council.
  • A date for release of confidential information is established in agenda documents, if it can be released, at the time it is considered.

Sometimes it is necessary to close a meeting to the public so Council or a committee can consider confidential information as permitted by law.

Under the City of Toronto Act, 2006, a meeting can only be closed if the subject of debate falls under one of several exceptions to the open meeting rules.

The City must close a meeting to consider an access to information request. The City may close a meeting to consider any of the following:

  • Receiving of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege
  • Security of the property of the municipality (or local board)
  • Acquisition or disposal of land
  • Considering personal information about an identifiable individual
  • Labour relations or employee negotiations
  • Litigation or pending litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals
  • Education or training of the members, so long as no decision-making is advanced
  • Any other matter permitted or required by statute
  • Information explicitly supplied in confidence to the City
  • A trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the City, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position
  • A trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial or financial information that belongs to the City or local board and has monetary value or potential monetary value
  • A position, plan, procedure, criteria or instruction to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the City.

No votes can be taken in closed session, except for votes on procedure and votes to give confidential instructions to staff, local boards or agents.

Under the City’s procedures, even if a closed session is required to consider a matter, the meeting must begin and end in public. Before closing a meeting, the committee or Council will adopt a motion to close the meeting setting out the nature of the subject to be discussed and the statutory reason for closing the session.

The City, its local boards, and committees of both are required to follow the open and closed meeting provisions of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as well as the closed meeting rules set out in the Council Procedures (or the local board procedures if they have their own).

If you believe a meeting of City Council, a local board to which the Act applies, or a committee of either, has been improperly closed, you may request that the City review the circumstances by appointing an independent investigator.

If you believe a meeting of City Council, an applicable local board, or a committee of either has been improperly closed to the public, you may request an investigation into the matter.

The City is currently taking steps to retain a closed meeting investigator. In the interim, the Provincial Ombudsman will investigate complaints.

To make a complaint directly to the Provincial Ombudsman.

Additional resource materials, please see Open Meetings – Guide For Municipalities.

If you can’t find the information you are looking for in these links, please contact us at

If the investigator finds that a meeting has been closed improperly, the investigator will report that finding to Council or the local board, and make recommendations for the future.

Please note: The investigation provisions do not apply to:

  • Toronto Police Services Board
  • Toronto Public Library Board
  • Toronto Community Housing Corporation
  • Toronto Hydro
  • Various city pension boards