Ontario Ombudsman Rules Amherstburg Council Violated Municipal Act

The Mayor of Amherstburg is calling a ruling from Ontario's Ombudsman "a learning experience for council."

The Ontario Ombudsman has ruled Amherstburg council violated the Municipal Act by holding closed door meetings while discussing the possibility of the Windsor Police Service taking over policing in the town.

Aldo DiCarlo calls it a unique case where council considered the information being discussed a safety risk to the people and property of the town.

The ruling states council was acting in "good faith."

"He believes that we operated in good faith and that he understood our concerns," says DiCarlo. "To me, that stood out in the sense that even if you believe we shouldn't have done it, at the very least, I think it should be clear that we weren't trying to hide anything from anybody. We were genuinely concerned about the security of the town."

DiCarlo says council was as transparent as possible during the process. "The information we went in camera for is no different than what we would go in camera for at the Police Board," he says. "At the end of the day, when it comes to the safety and the security of the town, I would say erring on the side of caution is always better than making a mistake at that level."

Amherstburg council decided to enter into a 20-year contract with the Windsor Police Service, which is expected to save the town roughly $567,000 per year.

Approval is still needed from the Ontario Civilian Police Commission which is expected to make a final decision within the next 30 days.

If approved, the change over would officially take place on January 1, 2019.