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Accountability and Transparency

Council's role is to ensure accountability and transparency in City Council decisions and City services.

The City of Owen Sound is committed to:

  • Public access and participation;
  • Quality services;
  • Efficient use of public money;
  • Responding to requests for service and concerns.

Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001 provides that municipalities must develop and maintain various policies regarding the accountability and transparency of municipal government and its operations. The following policies have been adopted by Council to ensure compliance:

  • Accountability and Transparency
  • Council/Staff Relations
  • Delegation of Powers and Duties
  • Hiring of Employees
  • Procurement of Goods and Services
  • Public Notice
  • Sale and Disposition of Land

The Code of Conduct for Council Members was adopted by Council to:

  • establish a common basis for the ethical behaviour of Members of Council; and
  • increase public confidence by making a commitment to operate with integrity, justice and courtesy.

Municipalities are required under the Municipal Act, 2001 to provide access to an Integrity Commissioner. Council has appointed Principles Integrity as the Integrity Commissioner for the City of Owen Sound. 

The Integrity Commissioner has the power to deal with requests to investigate suspected contraventions of the Code of Conduct.

In addition to conducting formal Code of Conduct investigations, the Integrity Commissioner also serves as an advisor on appropriate conduct to individual Members of Council or Council as a whole, as well as individual public Committee members or Committees as a whole.

Principles Integrity can be contacted by phone at 1-647-259-8697 and by email at

Council and Committee meetings sometimes may be closed to the public. Municipalities may only have closed meetings in accordance with Section 239 of the Municipal Act, 2001.

Before holding a closed meeting, a motion will be adopted in an open meeting. The motion will set out the nature of the subject(s) to be discussed and the reason(s) for closing the meeting.

The City must close a meeting to consider an Access to Information request or an ongoing investigation by the Ombudsman.

The City may also close a meeting to consider any of the following:

  • security of the property of the City;
  • considering personal information about an identifiable individual;
  • acquisition or disposition of land;
  • employee negotiations or labour relations;
  • a matter in respect of which it may hold a closed meeting under another Act;
  • litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals;
  • receiving advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege;
  • educating or training of members so long as no decision making is advanced.

The Ontario Ombudsman has been appointed as the closed meeting investigator for the City. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Ombudsman will determine compliance with the Municipal Act and/or the City's Procedural By-law.

Procedural By-law was adopted by Council to establish the rules of order for Council and Committee meetings. The rules ensure a fair and consistent approach with respect to the consideration of City business.

The Procedural By-law also establishes standards in relation to notice provisions, agendas and minutes, resolutions, and voting.

The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act requires Members of Council to declare any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in relation to a matter under consideration and, as soon after as possible, to file a written statement of the interest and its general nature with the Clerk.

An index of the written statements is maintained on the City's website.

To review the written statements in their entirety, please make an appointment to visit the Clerk's Office, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling 519-376-1440.

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