Monday, October 29, 2012

Anyone working at the Ministry of Labour?

The British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union represents more than 25,000 government workers in B.C. and on Sept. 27 it reached a tentative agreement with the government.

The deal was announced the next day by Premier Christy Clark at the Union of B.C. Municipalities' convention in Victoria. It included the immediate corking of the controversial privatization of the Liquor Distribution Branch.

I requested, via Freedom of Information, a copy of the labour accord from the Ministry of Labour. After the Sept. 5 cabinet shuffle, Jobs, Tourism and Investment Minister Pat Bell also became Labour Minister. My request was processed and, on Oct. 29, I received notice that the Ministry of Labour doesn't have a copy of the BCGEU settlement.

Truth is stranger than fiction. See below.

(BCGEU members will be glad to know their union has a copy of the tentative agreement, which can be read here.)



Unknown said...

Your error was asking for a "tentative agreement". They may have found a "Memorandum of Settlement" had you asked.

These people are unbelievably duplicitous when records are requested. I learned last week that an "agreement" is not a contract, according to them. This despite the fact that the Financial Administration Act says differently. The whole process and all government employees in it needs a shakeup.

Bob Mackin said...

I fully agree with your last sentence. In this case, the government called it a "tentative agreement."

Unfortunately, we're not privy to the titles of all the documents ahead of time. FOI clerks are supposed to take that into account and err on the side of disclosure. Often, however, they err on the side of government.

Unknown said...

I’ve encountered a situation where a full accident investigation was conducted on a hospital elevator by a safety officer and a maintenance crew without one scrap of paper being generated. This despite the fact that the investigation results were communicated to hospital management and the WCB. The same people told me in writing that the hospital kept no record of who was treated in the emergency department, or what the nature of complaint was for the emergency visit.

I contacted the Provincial Health Officer about the emergency room issue, and within ten days the hospital provided me with the documents I was looking for. I’ve encountered lots of duplicity, and unfortunately that includes actions of the info commissioner’s office.

If it isn’t semantics about the document title, what is your opinion on why the Labour Ministry cannot locate a copy of the agreement you requested?

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