Nova Scotia

Despite privacy czar ruling, Halifax won't release more info about bonuses

Halifax has decided not to comply with a recommendation made by Nova Scotia's information and privacy commissioner to release information on bonuses given to the city's non-union employees between 2010 and 2015.

Releasing names of employees who receive performance-based wage increases would invade privacy, HRM says

In a statement, the Halifax Regional Muncipality said it doesn't have a bonus program, rather, 'non-union employees participate in a performance-based annual wage increase program.' (CBC)

Halifax has decided not to comply with a recommendation made by Nova Scotia's information and privacy commissioner to release information on bonuses given to the city's non-union employees between 2010 and 2015.

Colin May, a resident of Dartmouth, asked in 2016 for a list of people in the planning department who received bonuses. He appealed to the information commissioner when Halifax Regional Municipality decided only to provide him with a list of the bonus amounts. Catherine Tully's review, which was released in August, sided with May.

But the municipality maintains providing the names and amounts would be an "unreasonable invasion of privacy."

May's only option now would be to appeal to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, which he does not plan to do.

"I'm not going to waste money on a lawyer," said May. "It's quite pathetic. There's no information why they won't release the information."

Catherine Tully, Nova Scotia's information and privacy commissioner, ruled the municipality should release information on bonuses given to employees. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

In an emailed statement, the municipality insists it does not have a bonus program for non-union employees. Instead, "non-union employees participate in a performance-based annual wage increase program."

Tully's report stated "this type of pay could also be characterized as a merit-based reward" and falls "within the definition of remuneration."

May thinks the mayor and council should take a leadership role on accountability and leadership issues.

"I don't know what the problem is," he said. "The mayor has been silent and council has been silent."

May plans to continue making requests for other information.

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