On June 23, 2014, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) received a copy of an application that was filed by the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada in Federal Court seeking review of TPA’s application of exemptions under the Access to Information Act.
The application pertains to a single document, specifically the minutes of a December 23, 2008, TPA Audit and Finance Committee meeting. A copy of the application can be viewed here.
Erroneous information regarding the nature of information sought by the Information Commissioner has appeared in certain media outlets. The document in question had been released as requested and was redacted to protect commercially sensitive information. The redacted portions of the minutes included information related to a Request for Proposal (RFP) process being conducted at the time for the procurement of the Marilyn Bell ferry which services what is now Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the financing of capital acquisitions, and discussion of the TPA’s business plan and budget. The redacted information did not pertain to audited expense reports for TPA executives, past or present. Specifically, the application filed by the Information Commissioner on June 20, 2014, does not pertain to expenses of past TPA executives including now Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt. Reports that this is the case are inaccurate.
“The TPA is committed to full transparency,” said TPA Chairman Mark McQueen. “In this case the document requested was provided, but redaction was necessary to protect the privacy of independent third-party providers who were engaged in an RFP process and commercially sensitive information specific to business operations. Agencies such as the TPA are not allowed to disclose information that would impact the business interests of commercial suppliers.”
If someone is interested in CEO or Board travel and hospitality expenses, they’ve been posted on the TPA website on a quarterly basis for more than half a decade. The TPA was the first Port Authority to take this step, and we are proud to have done so,” added McQueen. Further indication of the TPA’s commitment to transparency can be evidenced by a 2010 Forensic Review conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP (PWC), where PWC reviewed management and Board expenses and purchasing policies, among other matters. More information on this audit can be found here.
The TPA expects to respond formally to the application within the next 10 days.