You have likely heard the term in camera, which means “in the absence of the public” or “in private”. Given that Board meetings are public, choosing to move in camera is an important step. As outlined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), you may choose to go in camera only to discuss security, legal matters, personal matters, or labour relations.
If your Board wishes to go in camera to discuss a matter, then as Chair, you must:
- Ask for and secure a motion and second for the motion, and take a vote
- State for the minutes the time that the Board went in camera.
While in camera note:
- There are no notes or minutes taken; the discussion is not recorded
- No motions can be passed and no decisions made
- Your usual rules of order can be suspended to allow a more open discussion
- Decisions can be framed for discussion and informal agreement sought on the pending matter.
When you are ready to return to a public forum:
- Ask for a motion and second, then vote to go out of the in camera session
- State for the minutes the time that the Board returned to a public forum.
When you return to your public meeting:
- Process any motions resulting from your in camera session in the same way you would any other motions or decisions of the Board.
- The discussion of an in camera session must remain confidential, even after an individual no longer serves on the Board.
- Denying members of the public access to your meetings could be seen as holding an in camera session. Unless you are legally in camera you must refrain from meeting in private.
- Be sure you do not abuse the use of in camera by resorting to a private discussion simply because a decision is difficult or uncomfortable.