Closed Session is a legal term meaning "in private". When Council goes into Closed Session, it means that the Council Meeting (as defined in the Municipal Government Act (MGA) is closed to the public.
Council members, the CAO, and any others included in the Closed Session discussion must keep in confidence what was discussed until the item is discussed at a Council Meeting held in public.
Section 197 of the MGA prohibits the passing of a resolution or bylaw during a Closed Session. If a direction or decision is reached in a Closed Session, then a resolution must be made in the open meeting so that Council's direction is recorded and acted upon.
The media and public cannot attend the Closed Session discussion but are welcome to return to the Council meeting following the Closed Session.
What can be discussed in a Closed Session? The FOIP Act outlines the discussion items that would allow a Council to go into a closed session, including where public disclosure could be harmful to:
- Third-party business interests (Sect 16)
- Third-party personal privacy (Sect 17)
- Individual or public safety (Sect 18 and 19)
- Law enforcement (Sect 20)
- Intergovernmental relations (Sect 21-24)
- Economic interests (Sect 25-29)
Public bodies should not:
Information from Alberta Municipal Affairs Website
- Reveal confidential employee evaluations;
- Disclose local public body confidences or advice from officials; or
- Disclose information that is subject to any legal privilege.
- For information on how the FOIP Act affects municipalities, please visit the Service Alberta Website