Public interest trumps privacy for contracts of Alberta public officials

Arbitrator orders disclosure of salary and benefits data withheld by public bodies after request for information
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The office of the Alberta privacy commissioner has ruled disclosure of the employment contracts of two public service employees is allowed under privacy legislation and is in the public’s best interest.

On Feb. 18, 2005, requests were made for information on the employment contracts of the former chief of staff in the premier’s office and the former representative of Alberta in Washington, D.C. The public bodies involved, the Executive Council and Alberta International Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations, agreed to the requests on June 30 and July 4, 2005, respectively.

However, some of the information wanted by the applicant was not included. The missing information included the salaries of the individuals, term of the contracts, address information and signatures of the parties to the contracts. The public bodies argued this was personal information which they couldn’t disclosure under the province’s