OIPC Recommends Release of Contracts for Privatized Healthcare Services at Eastern Health to the Public

For Immediate Release:

Monday, June 20, 2016

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) President Jerry Earle is supporting recent recommendations by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) for Eastern Health to release the contracts for privatized healthcare services to the public.

The recommendations are contained in two reports by the OIPC stemming from Access to Information and Privacy Protection Act (Act) requests filed by NAPE earlier this year. NAPE had requested the contracts for three contractors at Eastern Health: Morrison Healthcare/Compass Group/Crothall Healthcare (Crothall), Paladin Security (Paladin), Vinci Park/indigo (Vinci). Crothall provides management level support for environmental and food services, Paladin provides security services, and Vinci provides parking services.

All three companies initially filed complaints with the OIPC objecting to the release of their contracts. Vinci eventually dropped their complaint. Crothall and Paladin, however, continued their objections, which led to the OIPC reports in question.

“We applaud the decision of the OIPC recommending the release of these corporate health care contracts to the public,” said Earle. “We firmly believe that this is in the public’s best interest – to ensure openness and transparency in how our public healthcare system operates and how taxpayer dollars are being spent.”

“We also support the OIPC’s suggestion that all public bodies move to an “open contracting system”, under which contracts for the provision of goods and services are published without the need to access to information requests; just like the contracts we negotiate with the government and employers across the province,” said Earle. “This would provide a greater level of transparency and avoid time consuming and costly access to information requests.”

The Act stipulates that Eastern Health has ten (10) business days upon the receipt of each report from the OIPC to decide on whether or not they will follow the recommendations of the OIPC. The complainants – Crothall and Paladin – will then have 15 days to appeal these decisions to the Supreme Court Trial Division, pursuant to section 52 of the Act.

“We urge Eastern Health to comply with the recommendations made by the OIPC to make these contracts public,” continued Earle.

“The public has every right to see if public funds are being used properly and to know if adequate checks and balances are in place,” stated Earle. “We are hopeful that this matter, which has already chewed up valuable public resources for a number of months, does not end up going to court. This will only serve to tie up the court system with frivolous proceedings and further drain public resources.”

“This entire situation is a glimpse into one of the major pitfalls of privatization of public services – a lack of transparency and accountability. These corporations are putting their interests ahead of those of the people of the province – plain and simple.”

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For further information, please contact:

Keith Dunne, NAPE Campaigns and Communications Coordinator

(phone) 709.570.2501    (cell) 709.631.9737  (email)