Canadian Manufacturing

Liberals broke law by deleting gas plant emails: privacy commissioner

Premier's staff tried to learn how to permanently delete electronic documents

June 5, 2013  by The Canadian Press

TORONTO—Ontario’s privacy commissioner says top staff in former premier Dalton McGuinty’s office broke the law by deleting all e-mails related to the cancellation of gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga.

Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian says the indiscriminate deletion of all emails sent and received by McGuinty’s former Chief of Staff, Chris Morley, violated the Archives and Recordkeeping Act.

Cavoukian also found as recently as January 2013 staff in the former premier’s office tried to find out how to permanently delete e-mails and other electronic documents.

The privacy commissioner concluded the email practices of McGuinty’s office violated their legal obligations.


However, Cavoukian says she cannot state with certainty that there was inappropriate deletion of emails as part of the transition to the Kathleen Wynne’s administration to avoid transparency and accountability.

The opposition parties contend the Liberals deleted the emails to help cover up the total cost of cancelling the gas plants, which has now ballooned to $585 million.

The NDP had complained to Cavoukian after Freedom of Information requests for gas plant documents discovered there were no emails for Morley, McGuinty’s former principal secretary Jamison Steeve or former deputy policy director Sean Mullin.

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