EDMONTON – An Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision released Sept. 27 agreed with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees that financial documentation from private seniors care operators funded by Alberta Health Services could not be withheld from public scrutiny.
“AUPE is proud to share this victory with our members and the residents they care for, as well as with all Albertans who deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent,” said AUPE president Guy Smith. “The next step is for government to require transparency from all private operators as a condition of receiving public health care funding.”
The court decision dates back to a 2012 AUPE Freedom of Information Request. Two seniors care companies—Park Place Seniors Living and Revera—fought the release of the information, with a number of other private operators joining the appeal claiming the release of the information would hurt their business interests.
“We are talking about public health care dollars, but these companies have been fighting tooth and nail to keep their uses of that money secret,” said Smith. “We have a right to know that taxpayer funding will go toward adequate staffing and resourcing to ensure quality care for seniors and other vulnerable Albertans.”
In his decision, Judge Graesser noted: “It is regrettable that the delays now inherent in proceedings such as this likely make the result of this application moot, as the requested information is now some five years out of date.”
Despite delays, AUPE welcomed the decision, and, more importantly, the precedent that it sets for future Freedom of Information Requests.
“It took five and a half years to send a clear message that publicly funded health care operators must be transparent and accountable to Albertans,” said Smith. “Health care workers, the residents who live in these facilities, their families and communities deserve no less.”
For more information:
Guy Smith, AUPE president: (780) 265-2294
Merryn Edwards, AUPE communications: (780) 952-1951