Here is a copy of a confidentiality agreement that must be signed by all members of the public seeking to sit on the City of Guelph's Rental Housing Licensing Working Group:
I ____________________, am a member of the Rental Housing Licensing Working Group, of the Corporation of the City of Guelph (the “City”).
I will be meeting with staff of the City for the purpose of providing advice and recommendations to the City in respect of my role on the Rental Housing Licensing Working Group.
I acknowledge that:
(1) I will acquire certain knowledge or receive written or oral information (the “Information”) which is either non-public, confidential or proprietary to the City; and
(2) The interests of the City may be harmed if unauthorized parties obtain the Information.
Except as provided in this Undertaking or as may be required by law, I undertake to keep all Information confidential.
I will not, without the written consent of the City reveal or disclose the Information to anyone or use the Information either directly or indirectly for any purpose other than to provide advice and recommendations to the City in connection with my involvement with the City working group.
I undertake not to copy or circulate the Information except in accordance with the written direction of the City. I will not disclose to any person (other than to appropriate persons within my organization or other persons authorized by the City) any information about the City, and their partners. This includes any and all matters discussed during meetings with the City. I will not initiate or respond to any external inquiry relating to my involvement with the City board or committee.
(1) any delay or failure by the City in exercising its rights, powers or privileges under this Undertaking does not free me from the obligations in this Undertaking; and
(2) should the City only partially exercise its rights, powers and privileges, the partial exercise of such rights, powers or privileges does not preclude the City from exercising any other rights, powers or privileges.
I undertake to abide by the terms of this Undertaking and I declare that there is no actual or potential conflict of interest arising out of my participation in the meetings with the City.
Signature: ____________________ Witness:______________________
Name: _______________________ Name: ____________________
Date: ________________________ Date: _____________________
I understand at least one prospective member of the working group declined to join because of the confidentiality requirement.
UPDATE: The City of Guelph's access, privacy and records specialist, Tina McKinnon, responded to my query about why the city asks community members of advisory panels to sign confidentiality agreements, with this:
"Asking working group members to sign a standard confidentiality agreement helps prevent incomplete, or inaccurate information from being shared outside the working group. This gives the City time to meet with other individual stakeholders or groups, and gather unbiased community input before making a recommendation or decision.
Also, to encourage participants to freely express their opinions, the City asks group members to not to share the information discussed during meetings or sessions. This helps protect the privacy and confidentiality of the people in the group.
To ensure transparency and accountability, the City publishes advisory committee meeting minutes, discloses input from working group sessions, and shares other community feedback in a way that protects the privacy of those who participate in all community engagement activities.
In the case of Rental Housing, the City will include a summary of community feedback it its report this May."