Yukon NDP Leader Liz Hanson is calling on Premier Sandy Silver to explain and apologize for a comment he made in the legislature that she says implies a breach of privacy related to Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (ATIPP) requests.
The premier denies any such breach occurred.
On Tuesday, Silver was fielding questions from Hanson about the government’s commitment to electoral reform.
The premier said, “We made this commitment regarding electoral reform and setting fixed election dates, and there have been access to information requests on that issue from the opposition.”
“We were just so shocked,” Hanson told the Star Wednesday.
“You put a real chill out there if you say that ministers, or the premier, has any information about people filing ATIPPs. Holy cow.”
Hanson said as far as she’s aware, the NDP didn’t actually file an ATIPP request on the subject.
Sometimes the government will make “flippant” remarks to throw the opposition off, she said, and that’s fine – “when you’re not dealing with subject matter like privacy.”
In an emailed statement to the Star this morning, the premier said: “I should have included the word “assume” in my statements about ATIPP requests.”
“It is my assumption they came from the Opposition, but as per the rules, I am never made aware of who initiates requests.”
Gwen Rempel, the ATIPP Act co-ordinator, explained that a submitted ATIPP request has to include the applicant’s name and contact information.
“That’s the information we have on the applicant. And that goes into a case file here, and is kept here.”
If the applicant is requesting information about government programs or projects, that request would be forwarded to the appropriate department, and the applicant’s personal information would be withheld.
“There’s no reason why the department would need to know who the applicant was.”
Hanson said she knows how seriously Yukon government employees who work on ATIPP requests take their jobs.
“This actually reflects so badly on those people because it calls into question that somehow, they may have leaked that kind of information.
“It’s unacceptable on so many different levels.”
In a motion submitted Wednesday, Hanson urges the premier to explain his comment, confirm whether his government “respects the privacy provisions of the ATIPP Act” and “apologize to the staff of the ATIPP office for implying that they have breached the privacy of individuals filing ATIPP requests.”