Salaries to see daylight
House debates sunshine list law, including appeal process
The provincial government debated legislation in the House of Assembly recently that will create a legal requirement to publish all the names, positions, and salaries of public sector workers earning more than $100,000.
Finance Minister Cathy Bennett said that this is making good on a commitment that was made by the government last spring, and that it’s a transparency measure which exists in five other provinces.
“It’s open and transparent to the people of the province, and I think we have a responsibility as a government to provide that information,” she said.
The formal legislation comes after TC Media obtained thousands of names and associated salary information from the provincial government through access to information requests earlier this year, and published that information online and in the newspaper.
The government’s promise to create a formal list came in the wake of TC Media “sunshine list” project.
The legislation creates an appeal process for public-sector employees who believe that publishing their name and salary information will create some sort of physical or mental health threat. Bennett said an example of that would be a worker who was in a domestic violence situation, and didn’t want their partner to know how much they were paid. Ultimately, she said it will fall to the minister responsible for a given department to decide whether or not a worker’s reason for avoiding disclosure is valid.
In those instances, the government will provide anonymized salary information in such a way that it will not threaten the employee’s safety.
The first formal public sector salary disclosure list will be published before July 1, 2017, and each subsequent year before July 1.