The provincial government announced on Monday that it will conduct an inspection of the northern village of Pinehouse, a community of about 1,000 people located roughly 500 kilometres north of Saskatoon.
Warren Kaeding, the minister of government relations, said the investigation will focus on the village’s inability to fulfill freedom-of-information requests.“That really is our biggest concern. We have expectations with all of our municipalities that when they’ve been asked … the processes that are in place, to respond in an appropriate manner and unfortunately that wasn’t happening there,” Kaeding said.
The village’s administrative capacity to respond to the requests will be one of the things examined, the minister said.
The province’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ronald Kruzeniski, asked for an investigation in a Nov. 19 report.
That report stated his office had issued 13 reports involving the village between 2013 and 2018. Twelve dealt with delays, inadequate responses or no responses at all.
“My office is concerned that the mayor and the village administrator are obstructing the application of LA-FOIP, and believe that no town or village should be able to flagrantly disregard or obstruct the operation of a provincial statute,” the report read.
Many of the requests in question came from community activist D’Arcy Hande.
Neil Robertson, a lawyer with 36 years of experience in municipal law, will conduct the inspection.
Robertson was assigned to look into the village’s finances and business practices, as well as its policies around access to information. He is expected to deliver a report by March 15 to the ministry and the village council.
With files from 980 CJME’s Joseph Ho