The Alberta Liberals are asking the privacy commissioner to investigate why Education Minister Jeff Johnson sent a message to the private email accounts of some of the province’s teachers.

Johnson has come under criticism for sending a message directly to teachers on Wednesday while contract negotiations are underway between school boards and the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

Johnson said that he used information teachers gave the government when they registered as professionals.

"This is well within the intended use of these lists and of course we’ve had good legal opinions," he said, adding that he got the idea from his sister who is a teacher in British Columbia.

"The minister in B.C. regularly communicates with every one of their certificated teachers in the same kind of fashion so we thought it was a great idea."

Liberal Justice critic Laurie Blakeman believes that Johnson broke privacy laws by sending the message to teachers’ private email accounts.

"Teachers gave their email addresses for one purpose: to register as professionals in the province," Blakeman said in a press release on Friday.

"They do it in good faith and with an expectation of privacy, not to receive spam mail from the Education minister."

Johnson brushed aside suggestions that he was interfering with the collective bargaining process by sending the email.

He claims that the response he’s received from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive.