A senior Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) executive member is accusing the territorial government of shredding documents at the centre of an access to information request.
Justin Lemphers, the union’s vice-president, wrote in the YEU’s most recent newsletter the organization had recently submitted an Access to Information and Protection of Privacy request to the government. The subject of the request wasn’t specified.
Lemphers was not available for an interview with the Star Tuesday or today.
The relevant documents came to about 600 in number.
“Surprisingly, the documents received numbers only 16 pages, with the balance redacted by the Public Service Commission,” he wrote in the column.
Lemphers went on to write, “Upon closer review, an email thread grabbed my attention. The email instructs staff at the Respectful Workplace Office and the Public Service Commission to destroy records related to an ATIPP request.”
Lemphers stated this request from the Public Service Commissioner is in direct conflict with the Yukon ATIPP Act and is in violation of the newly ratified YEU/YG collective agreement.
Lemphers writes in the column that “there is no provision under the old or new TWO process to destroy records related to an investigation.
“Shredding documents and colluding to withhold relevant information is unseemly and an offence under the Access to Information and Privacy Act.
“The Yukon Employees’ Union would like those responsible to be held accountable for those offences.”
The issue is now under investigation by the Privacy Commissioner, Lemphers added.
The Public Service Commission offered a comment on the situation to the Star late this morning.
“The information within the YEU newsletter unfortunately contains some inaccurate information, however, it would be a violation of ATIPP legislation to get into the specifics of the requests referred to in this newsletter.”
Some general comments were provided in the statement.
“While preparing the access information summary, the DAO ideally should remove records that are obviously out of scope or duplicate records – however, in the case that’s being referred to, the total number of records received was what was included in the access information summary.
“This process can be challenging when large amounts of records are being managed in addition to multiple requests being processed at one time,” the statement added.
“The other piece mentioned in this newsletter alleged that the Public Service Commission destroyed records as part of this request. The record in question was a personnel assessment pertaining to a different ATIPP request that should not have legally been released by the Yukon government under the ATIPP Act.”