Security concerns about recording in-camera meetings are coming up at city hall. Council has been looking at possibly putting those meetings, which are closed to both the media and the public, on the record in case any issues arise down the road.

However, City Clerk Steph Palmateer says once you start audio recording meetings an official record is made, which will then be accessible under the Freedom of Information Act. That means anyone may be able to request a copy of that recording, so any comments may become public.

Palmateer was not the only one to raise concerns about the pitch, which came from Councillor Rick Dubeau. Councillor Noella Rinaldo also raised concerns, saying she was originally on board, but has since had a change of heart. She says her initial thought was “we have nothing to hide”, and had no problems with the audio recording. However, in looking back, Rinaldo says there are some implications there. She says those meetings touch on everything from legal council to employees, and doesn’t want that information to ever come out.

Councillor Pat Bamford echoed those thoughts, saying a more comprehensive report is needed before any changes are made. He says it’s important for council to be candid in what they’re saying. And, if there is any concern about those comments being used against council, or if they’re afraid to be candid, part of the point of the in-camera sessions could be defeated.

Less than four per cent of Ontario municipalities record their in-camera sessions now. That works out to 17 out of 444 municipalities. This will come back for another discussion at city hall.

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