Improve record keeping, stop destruction of public records, and enhance the powers of several offices to improve freedom of information requests.
That is among 27 recommendations made by former BC information and privacy commissioner David Loukidelis in his report into the deleting of government emails.
David Loukidelis says current policies are inadequate.
“One thing I observed in reviewing government existing transitory records policy is that it needs some significant enhancement. It is somewhat fragmented and confusing and indeed incomplete in the area of emails in particular. So I’m recommending there be a complete overhaul and clarification.”
Loukidelis also wants non-political staffers to manage government records.
His report was prompted by findings this fall of the current privacy watchdog, Elizabeth Denham.
She reported that government staffers at more than one ministry were deleting sensitive emails that had been requested under Freedom of Information laws. This, after former staffer Tim Duncan alleged his supervisor scrubbed emails.
New laws and tougher penalties
Loukidelis also wants to see some teeth put into laws governing the destruction of public records.
He wants the province to consider new laws to punish those who are deliberately destroying documents to avoid scrutiny, and says the punishment should go right up to a staffer losing their job.
“I have also recommended that government give serious consideration to creating a rule as a matter of a public service code of conduct prohibiting any destruction of records with an intent to evade a specific access request for the records in question.”
The Premier is pledging to implement all 27 of the recommendations in the Loukidelis report.
Christy Clark says email deletion within the provincial government is over.
“For ministers and political staff there will be no deletion of any sent emails at all. Not single, not double, not triple.”
Clark wouldn’t exactly commit to whistle-blower protection, a topic Loukidelis did not touch on.
“We will certainly be working with the current Privacy Commissioner on any further changes she wants to make. I want to get going on this. All of those other dicussions that he didn’t touch on we are going to have with the Privacy Commissioner as well.”
The triple delete scandal was blown open by former ministry of transportation staffer Tim Duncan who blew the whistle on the practice.