Ombudsman Ontario

Ombudsman Ontario

October 15, 2009 10:24 ET

Media Advisory: Ombudsman to Present New Edition of Guide to Province's Sunshine Law

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2009) - Ontario Ombudsman André Marin will officially present the new edition of his office's guide to open municipal meetings in Ontario – The Sunshine Law Handbook – to Mayor Mike Bradley of Sarnia later today. The presentation marks the release of the second edition of the Handbook, which the Ombudsman's Office will distribute free of charge to every mayor and municipal councillor across the province.

Since Jan. 1, 2008, changes to the Municipal Act have enabled members of the public to complain about municipal council and committee meetings held behind closed doors. The Ombudsman is the investigator for such complaints, except in municipalities that have appointed their own investigators. His office established an Open Meetings Law Enforcement Team (OMLET) that has handled about 150 complaints and inquiries about closed meetings to date, including 8 investigations.

The second edition of the Handbook – updated from the initial 2008 publication – reflects the findings of those investigations as well as interpretations of the law and municipal best practices that have emerged since the law first came into force. The pocket-sized guide includes frequently asked questions, tips for municipal officials and would-be complainants, and excerpts from relevant legislation for handy reference. It is also available to the public and can be found under "Publications" at www.ombudsman.on.ca.

Mayor Bradley has been a strong supporter of "sunshine" legislation and government transparency for many years. He and Mr. Marin are available to answer questions on this topic upon request. Today's presentation is part of "Good Governance Week" – a national celebration recognized by the Ontario legislature and others across the country to mark the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the first parliamentary ombudsman in Sweden in 1809 and raise awareness of the contributions that ombudsmen make to good governance, fairness and accountability.

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