Information and Privacy Commissioner orders government to release documents to HEU

News release

For the second time in a week, the B.C. Liberal government has been ordered to release documents related to health care contract-breaking legislation passed last January.

Information and Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis today ordered the Ministry of Health Services to comply with an information request filed by the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) by November 30.

HEU filed its request more than eight months ago. Under B.C.’s access to information law, the union should normally be given access to the requested information within 30 days.

On October 30, a Supreme Court judge ordered the Campbell government to release confidential cabinet documents dealing with Bill 29 — the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act — to lawyers acting for health care unions in an unprecedented Charter of Rights case which will be heard next April.

“This government has spared no effort to conceal its true motivations for tearing up legally negotiated collective agreements,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “These actions make a sham of the Premier’s commitment to run the most open and accountable government in the country.”

In today’s order, Loukidelis rejected government arguments that it needed until the end of January of next year to comply with the union’s request. In his order, the Commissioner states: “the Ministry is in breach of its statutory obligations for no reason that I can find to be justified on the evidence before me.”

-30- Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771 (cell)

Today’s order by the Information and Privacy Commissioner can be viewed and downloaded from www.oipcbc.org/orders/Order02-54.pdf/.