Policies for Ministers' Offices - January 2011
Appendix D: Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury Board With Respect to Access to Information Requests of Ministerial Expense Claims
I am writing further to the announcement in Parliament on March 15, 2002, by the President of the Treasury Board with respect to the treatment of requests made under the Access to Information Act for records of ministerial expenses under the control of government institutions.
As you are no doubt aware, the Prime Minister asked his Ministers and their exempt staff to consent to the release of information contained in travel and hospitality expense records.
Enclosed is a copy of an Information Notice to Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Coordinators issued by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) to clarify the government's policy on the handling of access requests for records of ministerial expenses, and to request that Coordinators seek consent for the release of information in travel and hospitality expense records. The Information Notice and the practice of disclosing such records with consent are matters that were discussed at the bi-monthly ATIP Community Meeting hosted by TBS on March 19, 2002.
Each time an access request is received for expense claim information that relates specifically to travel and hospitality claims of Ministers and their exempt staff while on government business, all Ministers and their exempt staff will be asked by their Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator to sign a consent form authorizing the disclosure of such information. This applies only to expense claim records that are under the control of the government institution, and specifically to ministerial expense certificates (a monthly summary record of expenses) and to individual claims of exempt staff. This does not include travel records held exclusively in a Minister's Office, as these are not subject to the Access to Information Act.
Consent means that information such as the names of the Minister along with their monthly summary record of expenses, and the names of the exempt staff members, along with their position titles, travel destinations and reasons for travel, the nature of the hospitality, and amounts will be disclosed. Personal information that does not relate to the position or function of the individual, such as home addresses, personal phone or credit card numbers would continue to be protected.
This practice will ensure that the balance between the public's right to know and an individual's right to privacy is maintained.
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