The Ontario e-mail deletion scandal – part 10 – Why had no-one mentioned the e-mail archive?

The story so far….
In September 2011, just before a general election, Ontario’s Minister of Energy announced the cancellation and relocation of a controversial gas plant.

In May 2012 the Estimates Committee of the Parliament of Ontario requested to see the correspondence of the decision.  They received no correspondence from any of the political staff working in  the Office of the Ministry of Energy, nor from those working in the Office of the Premier of Ontario.

Craig MacLennan was Chief of Staff to the Minister of Energy when the gas plant decision was taken.  He left his post and Ontario’s public service in August 2012.

In April 2013 MacLennan was questioned as to why he had not returned any records responsive to the Estimates committee’s request.  He said that he had been unable to return any responsive records because he kept ‘a clean in-box’ and routinely deleted his e-mails.

MacLennan’s statement was reported to Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s Privacy and Information Commissioner.  She investigated and reported in June 2013 that MacLennan’s e-mails were not recoverable (Ontario’s policy is to delete e-mail accounts when members of staff leave the service).

In July 2013 Cavoukian was contacted by the Ministry of Government Services who told her that a portion of MacLennan’s e-mail account had been found in their ‘Enterprise Vault’ e-mail archive.   This portion of his account comprised 39,000 e-mails of which 1,800 related to the gas plant issue.

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Next episode

The Commissioner issues an addendum to her report

The Ontario e-mail deletion scandal (part 9) – a portion of the e-mail account is found

The story so far:

Craig MacLennan was Chief of Staff to Ontario’s Minister of Energy when controversial decisions were made to cancel and relocate two gas plants.   In April 2013 he told a committee of the Ontario Parliament that the reason he had not provided any documents in response to a committee request for all correspondence relating to the gas plant decisions was on account of his habit of ‘keeping a clean inbox’.

MacLennan’s comment sparked an investigation by Ann Cavoukian,  Ontario’s  Information and Privacy Commissioner, as to whether or not this practice of e-mail deletion constituted a breach of Ontario’s Archives and Recordkeeping Act.

In June 2013 Cavoukian concluded that MacLennan’s e-mail account was not recoverable (Ontario’s policy was to delete e-mail accounts when staff leave) , and that a practice of routinely and indiscriminately deleting e-mails was indeed contrary to the Archives and Recordkeeping Act.

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Next episode:

Why had nobody mentioned the e-mail archive to the Information and Privacy Commissioner when she conducted her original investigation?

The Ontario e-mail deletion scandal (part 8) – the Commissioner makes her report

The story so far:  In April and May 2013 Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner carried out an investigation into allegations that Craig MacLellan, former Chief of Staff to the former Ministry of Energy, had deleted e-mails relating to controversial gas plant cancellations in 2010 and 2011.   She was now ready to report.

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Next episode:   Debates in Committee

The Ontario e-mail deletion scandal (part 7) – reaction to the retention schedule

The story so far:    Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner was interviewing Craig MacLennan (former Chief of Staff to Ontario’s Minister of Energy),  as part of her investigation into whether his practice of routinely deleting his e-mails contravened both Ontario’s Archives and Recordkeeping legislation, and the retention schedules drawn up by Ontario’s archives.    The Commissioner has shown Craig the retention schedule and asked for his reaction

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Next episode:   the Commissioner reports

The Ontario e-mail deletion scandal (part 6) – the retention schedule

The story so far:  Craig MacLennan was Chief of Staff to Ontario’s Minister of Energy between January 2010 and August 2012.   0n 10 April 2013 Peter Tabuns wrote to Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner alleging that MacLennan’s routine deletion of his e-mails (including e-mails relating to controversial gas plant closures) had breached Ontario’s Archives and Recordkeeping Act.    The Commissioner is investigating

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Source: Ontario’s retention schedules can be found at http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/recordkeeping/index.aspx .  The schedule shown above is  Ministers’ Common

Next episode:  Craig MacLennan’s reaction to the retention schedule

The Ontario e-mail deletion scandal (part 5): the backup tapes


The story so far:
  A member of the Ontarian Parliament has alleged that Craig MacLennan had broken Ontario’s Archives and Recordkeeping Act by deleting e-mails relating to two controversial gas plant closures.  The Information and Privacy Commissioner is investigating.  All other attempts to locate, restore or salvage the e-mails of Craig MacLennan having failed, the last hope lies with the backup tapes

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Next episode:   The retention schedules