Rank-and-file RNC officers exempted from Sunshine List

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has exempted unionized members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary from having their names disclosed on the Sunshine List of public servants who are making more than $100,000.

Unionized members of N.L. police force making over $100K won’t be named, according to cabinet order

According to an order-in-council posted on the government's website, unionized Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers will not be named on the Sunshine List, which is set to be published by the end of June. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has exempted unionized members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary from having their names disclosed on the Sunshine List of public servants who are making more than $100,000.

That's according to a cabinet order posted on the government's website.

The order-in-council, dated May 31, notes that cabinet is "pleased to exempt from disclosure the names of police officers who are members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association."

Instead, a "numeric identifier" will be used, along with the title and total compensation paid to those officers making more than $100,000 a year.

Justice Minister Andrew Parsons explained the decision.

"The RNCA made an application for exemption of their members that would be included on the Sunshine List for safety reasons, purely for safety reasons," Parsons told reporters Monday afternoon.

Justice Minister Andrew Parsons says cabinet decided to exempt RNC officers from being named on the Sunshine List for safety reasons. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

"Because there's the fear that identification of officers by the criminal element could lead to possible safety issues for their members."

Salary information for police officers is made public in some provinces, such as Ontario. Parsons says it's not released in others, such as Manitoba.

"Each jurisdiction will do their own thing," Parsons said.

"I would wager to guess that we're a little bit different than Ontario in terms of our demographics, our size, and we're a relatively small province. I think those were things that guided us."

RNCA represents 380 officers

According to the RNCA website, the association represents 380 police officers in non-commissioned ranks, which includes constables, sergeants, and staff sergeants.

RNCA president Nick Summers confirmed in an emailed statement that the association made the request on behalf of members.

But Summers indicated that the RNCA is not prepared to discuss the details contained in that application.

Meanwhile, the province's largest public sector union says more workers should get exemptions from the Sunshine List.

"Correctional officers, for example, some of our social workers, our sheriff's officers," said Jerry Earle, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees.

"So some of these I think would have an equivalent concern."

NAPE president Jerry Earle says more workers should get exemptions from being named on the Sunshine List. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Sunshine List to be published by June 30

The inaugural Sunshine List will be published by June 30.

It will apply to public-sector employees making total compensation in excess of $100,000 a year.

The list will include the name of the employee, official job title, and the name of the department or public body in which they are employed.

It will provide total compensation, as well as a breakdown of things like overtime, bonuses, severance, and other benefits.

The list will apply to all employees in government departments, along with a number of agencies, boards, commissions, health-care bodies, educational bodies, and Crown corporations.

Under the law, the cabinet can exempt categories of employees when it believes "that disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to threaten the safety or mental or physical health of those employees."

Individual employees can also apply to be taken off the list.

The Department of Finance told CBC News by email that "there have been a number of individual exemption requests submitted to date," but provided no further details.

It's also not clear whether the province received any other requests to exempt a broader category of employees.

About the Author

Rob Antle

CBC News

Rob Antle is producer for CBC's investigative unit in Newfoundland and Labrador.


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