Nanaimo politicians called to privacy commissioner hearing over City Hall leaks

By Dominic Abassi
October 11, 2017 - 5:20pm

B.C.'s privacy czar will hold a hearing as part of an investigation into multiple leaks of confidential documents.File photo/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — B.C.'s privacy watchdog will hold a hearing with some Nanaimo councillors and others involved as part of their ongoing investigation into multiple leaks of confidential information.

In an email to NanaimoNewsNOW, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) confirmed there is a hearing on Oct. 12 after a complaint was filed over the leak of a confidential human resources document, known as the Goldner Report, to the national media.

This comes after the OIPC confirmed in May they were investigating a complaint filed by mayor Bill McKay after an email he wrote to a consultant ended up in the hands of a Nanaimo citizen. The confidential document was under the control of the City.

"I believed my information, which is highly sensitive, would be held confidential. Apparently there are people within the building (City Hall) that believed otherwise, so somehow that document was released," McKay said.

He said it's his understanding the City filed the complaint over the unauthorized release of the Goldner Report. The City did not respond to a request for comment.

On July 31, Nanaimo chief administrative officer Tracy Samra issued a statement outlining her interpretation of the report. Two days later, The Globe and Mail ran a story claiming they were provided a copy of the report. In the story, Samra said she issued the initial statement over concerns the report would never be made public.

McKay said the only people with copies of the report were himself, Samra, coun. Diane Brennan and the City's human resources department. McKay and Brennan both denied leaking the report, while the City did not respond to questions asking for clarification around who had access to it. A Freedom of Information request by NanaimoNewsNOW asking for a copy of the document has been under review by the City since Aug. 2.

The OIPC has the power to initiate Commissioner-led investigations and audits of public bodies or organizations, if there are reasonable grounds of non-compliance or if it is in the public interest.

"In order for us as a corporation to properly process highly sensitive initiatives we have to rely on everyone who touches those documents to keep that information confidential," McKay said.

 

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On Twitter: @domabassi

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