FOI Ruling in Niagara With an Interesting Twist

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake fought against releasing the "minutes of a particular meeting between four named individuals" which involved the town's chief administrative officer and mayor meeting with two undisclosed individuals.

The Town tried to claim solicitor client privilege. The IPC ruled against the town's claim of privilege over this meeting, and here's the twist the town's solicitor was providing advice to the developer!

[29] The town did not provide any submissions suggesting or supporting the application of the common law or statutory solicitor-client communication privileges. While I am aware of a notation in one of the records that is attributed to the town solicitor, I find that it does not attract solicitor-client communication privilege. This is because the notation reflects a suggestion that the solicitor offered to the development community’s representatives, and the “privilege does not cover communications between a solicitor and a party on the other side of a transaction.”[19]Accordingly, I find that neither the common law nor statutory solicitor-client communication privileges are established in the circumstances.