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BC Ferries delaying release of employee expenses until day after election

BC Ferries is "playing politics" by delaying the release of information on employee expenses until the day after the May 14 provincial election, said Jackie Miller, the vice-president of the British Columbia Coastal Transportation Society.

"I can only draw the conclusion that they have the information already and they're concerned about it being used in a political sense before the election," said Miller, a former president of the BC Ferries and Marine Workers' Union. "We want the information today. We've paid for it."

At issue is a Jan. 21, 2013 BCCTS request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for "an electronic accounting of all expenses for all BC Ferries' managers, senior executives, FAC charis and for any contractors at BC Ferries for the period of January 2006 to December 2012."

The legal deadline to release the records was April 30, a date BC Ferries had committed in writing to meet. The publicly-owned company charged the BCCTS $2,752.50 for the records and wrote in a letter, "Once the payment is received, we will provide you with our response to your request."

Miller said she hand delivered the final payment to BC Ferries head office on May 1, but is yet to receive the records.

She complained about the delay to the independent Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, which on May 7 opened a review into BC Ferries' "deemed refusal" to release the records. Miller said a representative of the OIPC told her BC Ferries told them the company would respond on May 15.

A spokesperson for BC Ferries took The Tyee's questions, but did not provide answers by publication time.

"I think it's clear there's information contained in that FOI request they're concerned about being made political," said Miller. The information may turn out to be benign, she said. "If however it shows expenses are extensive and for all intents and purposes unaccounted for, that's a concern."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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