Let's examine the Yukon Government (YG) response claiming the Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) newsletter “unfortunately contains some inaccurate information” and “it would be a violation of ATIPP legislation to get into the specifics of the requests”.
Imagine if an independent entity could review actions and responses related to Access to Information complaints. Well, that entity exists - the Yukon Information and Privacy Commissioner. This neutral body reviews ATIPP processing and results. They ensure correctness and identify errors in any ATIPP results and processes. The IPC could review the instruction from the Public Service Commissioner to shred and destroy records. They haven’t because they need to be called in.
YEU has extensive experience with how frequently YG ATIPP responses require correction by the Information and Privacy Commissioner. In my role at YEU, I regularly file ATIPP requests and send the results to the IPC. Every file I've sent to the IPC has needed some form of correction.
That's YEU’s baseline - every file sent to the IPC receives correction. Strike one against YG's credibility and their claim of “inaccurate information”.
Now let's address YG’s statement “it would be a violation of ATIPP legislation to get into the specifics of the requests”. YEU and YG in cooperation routinely handle confidential matters. If the ATIPP file pertains to a YEU member, and that member consented, we could collaborate with YG for a confidential review of the file and processes.
However, in this case we at YEU don't know who the ATIPP is referring to. Only YG does. Since the Respectful Workplace Office was noted, we can deduce it concerns a YG employee. This employee could be a member of YEU or YAEP, or an excluded (non-unionized) employee.
Here's where the Information and Privacy Commissioner could be called in as umpire. Regardless of the person's identity or union membership, YG can share everything with the IPC in complete confidence.
Our challenge to YG is this - request the Information and Privacy Commissioner conduct an in-depth review. Grant the IPC access to the full file, including all information Legal Services (LS in the ATIPP) and Public Service Commission suggested withholding and/or shredding. Request the IPC to produce two reports. One, a high-level overview report listing any corrective actions, without violating confidence. The other, an eyes-only report for YG. This can all be done without “a violation of the ATIPP legislation”.
It's not that they can't explain - they’re choosing not to. Strike two.
YEU's extensive experience reveals a troubling pattern - every file shared with the Information and Privacy Commissioner demands corrections, constituting our first strike against YG's claim of 'inaccuracy.' YG's deliberate decision to hide behind confidentiality further challenges their credibility and leads to the second strike. And finally - Is the sharing of personal information between Public Bodies, Justice and Public Service Commission per the ATIPP, the third strike for YG?
Justin Lemphers, Vice President
Yukon Employees' Union