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Ontario ombudsman to investigate incident with Niagara reporter

Ontario's ombudsman will investigate an incident in which Niagara Region staff seized a reporter's equipment and called police.
Niagara Region staff forced a newspaper reporter to leave last week. Now the ombudsman is investigating.

Ontario's ombudsman will investigate an incident in which Niagara Region staff seized a reporter's equipment and called police.

The municipality apologized to a St. Catharines Standard reporter last week. It said the incident took place after staff said they found two electronic devices on a media table during a closed council session and one appeared to be recording.

Municipal staff called police and ordered reporter Bill Sawchuk to leave the region's headquarters.

Ombudsman Paul Dubé says he will conduct a formal investigation into the incident in which he says a journalist and a citizen blogger were reportedly asked to leave and their property was seized.

Dubé says the incident has raised "serious concerns about the actions and processes of the municipality, and has understandably drawn high public interest."

The ombudsman will also look at whether the meeting itself violated open meeting requirements.