Minister's email to Alberta teachers under investigation

Alberta's information and privacy commissioner is looking into an email sent by the education minister to the private email accounts of some of the province's teachers.

Alberta's information and privacy commissioner is looking into an email sent by the education minister to the private email accounts of some of the province’s teachers. 

An email sent by Education Minister Jeff Johnson to Alberta teachers is under investigation. (CBC)

"I have followed the media coverage on this matter and I am mindful of the number of individuals affected (i.e. 30,000 teachers)," Commissioner Jill Clayton said in a media release Thursday. 

Teachers are currently in salary negotiations with the province and school boards. The email sent on Feb. 6 addresses teachers' contract negotiations and the province's "fiscal challenges."

Clayton said she will investigate whether the email was sent in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Clayton said she will also make recommendations to ensure that Alberta Education collects, uses and discloses teachers’ contact information in accordance with the FOIP Act.

Her findings will be made public in a report once the investigation is completed, she said.

Alberta Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman sent a complaint about the email to Clayton's office earlier this month.

Johnson has denied that he was deliberately interfering with the collective bargaining process but Blakeman believes otherwise.

"I think it was meant to be an end-run around the union and he can protest as much as he wants, but when you look at the context of this, I think it strains credibility to think anything else," she said.

Johnson said the email addresses were obtained from the information teachers gave the provincial government when they registered as professionals.