Update on November 25, 2015: I have received a response to my letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee. According to her response, she is discussing these issues with Justice Minister Ganley. I am very pleased to receive such a swift response from Minister Larivee on this topic.
Early this morning I sent a letter to Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley regarding Bill 5, the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act. The fine line between transparency and personal privacy is being blurred by this bill.
If Bill 5 is passed as is, educational bodies and municipal authorities will have to disclose the salaries of every single one of their employees, along with their names. That includes the librarian, the garbage truck operator, and the guy painting the crosswalk lines that drivers seem to be blind to. It also includes the educational assistants, the school janitor and the cafeteria staff. Teachers would be included as well, which just adds a redundancy, as their salaries and contracts are already reported completely in public.
This bill's purpose is to report the highest salaries in the public sector, with the intention of making sure we spend wisely on our human resources. So to name the lowest salaries as eligible for reporting is not only unnecessary, but it is also an attack on personal privacy. That fine line, or as it is named in the bill, "threshold" between highly- and lowly-paid is already arbitrarily set, but to ignore it for educational bodies and municipal authorities further blurs the lines between accountability and the respect for personal privacy.
What did schools and cities do to earn this segregation from other public sector bodies?
This is why I sent a letter to Ganley, and in Alberta Party fashion, offered an alternative. The alternative comes in the form of a proposed amendment to Bill 5, which would set the "threshold", or the fine line, for educational bodies and municipal authorities. This would align them with all the other public sector bodies named in the bill. It would remove the discrimination against educational bodies and municipal authorities.
It is the role of government to protect public interests. Transparency so as to protect our public dollars is one. Personal privacies are another. Right now, personal privacies are being blurred out.