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I am a former municipal councillor in a small rural

Hello Tom. I am...
Hello Tom. I am a former municipal councillor in a small rural municipality in rural Northern Ontario. The current council does very little to communicate with residents. Monthly council meetings are, by law, open to the public, but our community is geographically large and residents, especially seniors and those with small children, cannot attend the meetings. The meetings are NOT recorded and the minutes are of resolutions only. Discussion notes are not made.There are MANY times where inappropriate comments have been made by councillors, comments that are not appropriate at the municipal council table by elected representatives. We do not have a media presence in the community.I would like to attend each meeting and Facebook Live or video tape and make available the proceedings.1) Is this legal?
2) Can they demand that I stop or insist I be removed?
3) What restrictions are on me?
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Answered in 1 minute by:
11/19/2017
Debra
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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Hello! My name is Debra (formerly known as Legal Ease). Thank you for your question. I'm reviewing it now, and will post back again shortly.

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If you were to record them how would they know? Would you do it openly?

Do they have any rules about recording the meetings?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
It is a small community and they would know. There is usually no one in the audience. I am unaware if they have any local rules. Are there provincial laws protecting the public's right to record open and public meetings that supercede any local procedures a tiny municipality might have?
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Here is the township's procedural bylaw. I can't find anything prohibiting the recording of meetings.
http://api.ning.com/files/-M5JLAFxn1G0IUiY*K9lPgHaBeQOqoUHs7*elxopI0D1OXshzGEXyIa5135ALkt35sUQ5qf4d4VoJzUnzeR7g-NL4HsFgK*r/ProceduralBylaw2015.pdf

If you record the meetings without their consent and you are not part of their conversation this can be an offence. The law is that one party to a conversation must consent.

So it would be unlawful to hide the recording device.

If you were to record openly you could take the position that there was no reasonable expectation of privacy. The meetings are open to the public and you openly recorded the meeting.

Leaving aside the criminal law issue, they can make a rule that says they prohibit recordings of the meetings and they could require you to leave if you refused to adhere to their rules. While there is a law that allows you to attend public meetings there is no law that says you have a right to record them.

Does that fully answer your questions?

Please feel free to post back with any follow-up questions you may have. If you don't have any then I hope I have earned a 5 star rating but if you don't feel that I have please don't hesitate to reply back and let me know what more I can do to assist you. Finally, please know that even after you rate me I will be here for you and you can ask follow-up questions if you think of them later on at no further charge of course.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Is this classified as a conversation though when I am only a witness in an audience of a public municipal meeting?
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Are the rules different for a member of the media? If yes, what constitutes the media?

The rules would be the same for everyone. They can tell the media that they may not record the meetings.

If you are not part of the conversation you cannot consent to the recording. A witness to a conversation cannot consent.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
to be clear:-residents are allowed to attend public meetings-residents are not permitted to record public meetings

I didn't say exactly that.

I said that they can tell you that you cannot record the meetings and that you cannot record them secretly without their consent.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
if I am in the audience and am not attempting to hide the recording device, I am permitted unless they ask me not to.Follow up: would this apply to live streaming to the internet?

I would say that if it is clear you are making a recording and they don't object you are OK?

You would have to let them know you are live streaming to be safe.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you. I am dealing with a very oppressive municipal government that is closed to building a workable community here. They will NEVER broadcast or record their meetings and there's no media here to keep them to account.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Lastly, does JustAnswer have a "second opinion" option for your advice? Not that I don't trust you but I'm always one for a second opinion on important matters.

I believe it does but I am not sure how it works.

After you rate me you may see an option to ask for a second opinion. I am not positive though.

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