Municipalities may soon be included under Freedom of Information law

Mike Carson
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SUMMERSIDE – Municipalities across Prince Edward Island may soon be subject to the Freedom of Information and Privacy legislation.

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Justice Minister Janice Sherry said Prince Edward Island is the only Atlantic province that doesn’t allow the public to file for information on municipal governments.

“In 2002, when the Freedom of Information and Privacy legislation was made, other provinces across the country did not include their municipalities. But now we realize, like New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, all have their municipalities covered under their legislation.”

Sherry said the Island municipal exclusion from the Freedom of Information legislation may be coming to an end.

“It was recognized in the Land Governance Report by former Judge Ralph C. Thompson,” the minister said. “I do believe that there will be some discussions in those forums in regards to potentially making a change. The change that would have to happen is definitively a legislative one.”

Sherry said she was not certain why municipalities across the country were exempt from the law when it was first enacted.

However, she noted, that in the upcoming consultations on land governance on P.E.I., “This is one of the issues that they will be looking at and talking about.”

Sherry said the reason for including municipalities under the law now is because of changes that have occurred over the years and the public’s desire for the information.

“I guess in Prince Edward Island lots of times we look around to our sister provinces and use them as a guide,” she said. “Things have changed over the course of the last 10 years… There’s no formal decision at this point to make any changes. We’ll see what happens in the (land governance) consultations.”

The inclusion of municipalities in the Freedom of Information and Privacy legislation would help the public gain access to local documents. Recently, in Summerside, if the legislation had been in place, citizens could have applied for access to the city’s Hopping Report on the failed Michael Jackson tribute concert.


Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland Nova Scotia Summerside

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Recent comments

    January 17, 2013 - 10:21

    I guess in Prince Edward Island lots of times we look around to our sister provinces and use them as a guide,” she said...It's called leading from behind. There isn't any leadership of any kind on the Island. We are always the last to know or do anything. The backroom boys in Charlottetown are the only ones keeping up with this. They like it when the average taxpayer is kept in the dark. Didn't this premier say at the onset that he was for transparency? His dea of transparency is a little on the opaque side.

  • Politically Saavy
    January 17, 2013 - 08:32

    If changes in the Freedom of Information and Privacy legislation in Prince Edward Island is under consideration, this would be an ideal time to include the University and Holland College in the extended list of publicly funded institutions that spend tax dollars without any accountability to Island taxpayers.

  • John W. A. Curtis
    January 16, 2013 - 21:51

    The legislation should be made retroactive. it was a conflict of interest for council to spend money on a failed rock concert and then refuse to disclose the entire Hopping Report

  • Really
    January 16, 2013 - 18:33

    This is long overdue to all municipalities on PEI. In Summerside with the gang of five running wild things will never change. Councilors Holman and Steele are a big disappointment to their Wards, they campaigned on transparency and accountability and than voted NOT to release the Hopping Report, Basil loves them two guys, they are now part of the gang of five( Basil, Bruce, Ron, Jim & Peter) sounds like the trailor boys bunch, what a disgrace to municipal governance, and still they walk around with their heads in the clouds, but not for long. Keep up the great work Councilors Sullivan, Costa, Mundy and Thomas, all the people know what is going on with the back room boys.