Green Party Leader going to court to uphold the public’s right to information

Fredericton – Monday David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick and MLA forFredericton South will appear before a judge to appeal the decision by the Department of Social Development to withhold government contracts and service agreements with private entities respecting the management and ownership of nursing homes across the province. They have withheld this information despite the recommendation of the access to information commissioner that these contracts be released in their entirety.

“In 2009, the Auditor General recommended that the Department of Social Development evaluate whether there is any economic benefit to providing nursing home beds under a public-private model versus the traditional model,” said Coon. “This evaluation has not occurred.”

New nursing homes in New Brunswick are now exclusively being developed as public-private partnerships, rather than through the traditional community-based non-profit approach.

“The public needs to see these contracts to determine if this is a less costly approach,” said Coon. “That
is why I filed an RTI for these contracts and that’s why I’m fighting to have them released.”

The RTI process has rolled out according to the following timeline:
– Nov 11, 2016 –Original request for the nursing home contracts.
– Jan 25, 2017 – Received highly redacted contracts.
– Feb 9, 2017 – Filed a complaint with the Right-to- Information Commissioner.
– Aug 29, 2017 – The Commissioner released results of her investigation recommending the
contracts be released in their entirety
– October 11, 2017 – Letter received from the Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care, rejecting
the Commissioner’s recommendation
– November 8, 2017 – Filed an appeal with the courts
– January 15, 2018 – Court hearing scheduled