The Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Public Interest Commissioner have opened a joint investigation into the alleged improper destruction of records by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) based on information received by the offices.
Under section 53(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP Act), the Information and Privacy Commissioner has the authority to ensure compliance with rules relating to the destruction of records.
Under section 18 of the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act (PIDA), the Public Interest Commissioner has the authority to investigate a disclosure of wrongdoing.
The investigation will examine whether:
- ESRD destroyed records in compliance with rules relating to the destruction of records.
- ESRD made reasonable security arrangements to protect against unauthorized destruction of records in compliance with section 38 of the FOIP Act.
- Any person wilfully altered, falsified or concealed any record, or directed another person to do so, with the intent to evade a request for access to the record in contravention of section 92(1)(e) of the FOIP Act.
- Any government employee contravened rules surrounding the disposal or removal of documents during or following the current transition of government in contravention of section 3(1) of PIDA.
The investigation may be expanded to include other government departments, if necessary.
Upon conclusion of the investigation, an investigation report with findings and recommendations will be made public.