Court affirms order to disclose salaries based on public interest override

On October 30th, the Divisional Court affirmed a 2010 order by the IPC/Ontario that required a police board to publicly disclose the specific salary entitlements of a police chief and two deputy chiefs.

The request dealt with base salary entitlements for various years (as granted and recorded in employment contracts). Total salary to be paid to the affected employees exceeded the $100,000 threshold for annual publication under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act. The requested disclosure, therefore, would reveal the amount of performance pay received by the affected employees.

The IPC held that disclosure of the affected employees’ salary entitlements would constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy based on a provision that shields an employee’s “income” from public disclosure. However, it also issued a broadly-framed finding that disclosure of the “senior level” employees’ personal information was nonetheless warranted based on the “public interest override.” The Divisional Court affirmed the latter finding as reasonable.

York (Police Services Board) v (Ontario) Information and Privacy Commissioner, 2012 ONSC 6175 (CanLII).

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