NEWS
06/13/2016 14:07 EDT | Updated 06/14/2017 01:12 EDT

Saskatchewan access and privacy laws extended to cover political staff

REGINA — The Saskatchewan government is moving to extend privacy laws to the offices of legislature members and cabinet ministers as well as to police services.

Justice Minister Gord Wyant says the proposed changes will help modernize legislation covering freedom of information and protection of privacy.

Other planned amendments include increasing penalties and creating a new offence for snooping through files.

The changes are being introduced in response to recommendations made by information and privacy commissioner Ron Kruzeniski.

Kruzeniski said in his annual report last June that the statutes had not been reworked in 22 years and it was time for an update.

He says he views the changes as the first step of many in updating access and privacy legislation in Saskatchewan.

"I see legislative reform as a continuous work in progress. In the upcoming years, my office will propose additional amendments ... as needed and changes are identified," Kruzeniski said in a news release.

Kruzeniski said in another report last August that a care aide's privacy was breached when his personal information was shared by his employer, the health region and the Ministry of Health.

The care aide was suspended with pay after he told reporters that seniors at the nursing home where he worked were being left in soiled diapers and bed linens for up to 10 hours. He was later fired.

Reporters learned of the man's suspension in April in an email sent by a government source. Premier Brad Wall said a senior staff member who released the information had a lapse in judgment.

That led Kruzeniski to say that the rules around protection of personal information needed to change to apply to MLAs and members of executive council.