01/07/2016 08:59 EST | Updated 01/07/2017 00:12 EST

Watchdog finds no controls, penalties on Alberta government document shredding

EDMONTON — A watchdog report has found there is no oversight or control over what documents get shredded at the Alberta government.

The report also found there are no penalties for anyone who improperly destroys such records.

The findings are contained in a joint report released Thursday by Public Interest Commissioner Peter Hourihan and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton.

The two began the investigation last spring after receiving reports of improper shredding at the Environment Department around the time the Progressive Conservatives lost the election to the NDP.

The report found that lax oversight allowed for the improper destruction of 344 boxes of high-level records, about half the total number of documents destroyed across the government during that transition period.

The report says it also found confusion among officials over freedom of information rules, raising concerns that many requests for information may have been mishandled.