City of Nanaimo pursues leaker of confidential report

The City of Nanaimo is trying to find out who leaked a confidential report examining credit card use by municipal employees.

It is also attempting to get the report removed from social media sites.

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A report about the leak was made to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. The RCMP was also notified on Friday morning, said Mayor Bill McKay.

Asked if he knows who leaked it, McKay said: “Not at this moment no.”

“It had very limited distribution, let me put it that way.”

He would not discuss the contents of the 24-page KPMG forensic report, dated for Feb. 21.

“That is exactly what we are trying to prevent — is the breach of personal information of third party individuals. The release of this document exposes the city to significant liability.”

Asked about liability risk, McKay said: “I can’t comment further.”

“Our FOI head is taking all steps necessary to try to retrieve the document and have it removed from all social media sites.”

McKay expects that a staff report will follow on what steps may be taken, “which might include and up to prosecution of the person who posted it.”

A city statement said: “The report contains confidential third-party information, as well as personal information of individuals.”

Nanaimo has a legal duty under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to take reasonable steps to protect such information from unauthorized disclosure, it said.

Confidential municipal information has been leaked in the past. The Information and Privacy Office is “already investigating the city in relation to previous unauthorized disclosure of personal information by persons unknown. It is not yet know if that office will investigate the present disclosure,” the statement said.

Contravening the provincial Act in this way could result in a fine of up to $2,000, it said.

The report appears to have been posted online Thursday by a Nanaimo citizen. A statement that accompanied the link to the report said, “Solid, concrete and well documented information put to the public in a timely manner is imperative. Our governments and elected leaders have the duty to release pertinent information dealing with ‘hot button’ issues to the best of their ability in a timely manner.”

The person who posted the message could not immediately be reached Friday.

The report said it looked into concerns raised about purchases on the city’s corporate credit card. It reviewed municipal rules and practices regarding staff use of the cards for personal expenses and repayment to the city. It focused on two unnamed individuals and made recommendations on how to improve the city’s policies and processes.

It said that on average, 91 per cent of cardholders used the card for its intended purpose — which is to purchase goods and services on behalf of the city.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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