Privacy watchdog says more Ontario gas plant emails found
Discovery of more emails latest twist in long-running gas-plant controversy
Newly discovered emails relating to the costly cancellation of two Ontario gas plants have turned up and the province's privacy commissioner isn’t pleased that she had wrongly been informed that they couldn’t be found.
Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian issued a statement Wednesday, confirming that an official from the Ministry of Government Services informed her that "a number of emails" had been recovered that relate to the gas plant cancellations in Oakville and Mississauga.
Earlier this year, Cavoukian had been informed that the emails could not be found.
"I am appalled that we were provided with incorrect information during the course of my investigation, that was misleading," Cavoukian said in her statement. "I am, however, very pleased that these records have now been found."
John Milloy, the minister of government services, said Wednesday that the newly recovered records were from the email account of the former chief of staff to the energy minister.
Milloy said the government was still in the midst of "identifying and producing the records," which he said will be handed over to a legislative committee that is probing the cancellation of the gas plants.
Report found that staffers broke law
Last month, Cavoukian released a report that said Liberal staffers had broken the law by deleting emails related to the cancelled Mississauga and Oakville gas plants.
Cavoukian reported that the staffers also tried to remove the data from government computers after deleting the emails.
The OPP is now investigating the destruction of the emails.
On Wednesday, Cavoukian said she would be writing an addendum to her report, following the discovery of the additional documents.
However, the privacy commissioner said the conclusions of her report would not change.
This is not the first time that new gas plant documents have emerged after a previous batch has been released.
In February, the Liberals revealed they had found dozens of additional documents, after previously stating they had released all that they had. That admission followed two prior releases of thousands of pages of documents last fall.
The opposition parties have alleged that the email deletions were part of an effort to conceal the costs of cancelling the gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga several years ago.
The total cost of scrapping the two plants is currently estimated to be $585 million, well above the figures initially quoted by the governing Liberals.
With files from The Canadian Press