Government should release Mount Polley documents

Victoria, BC – The ELC asked BC’s Information & Privacy Commissioner today to investigate the provincial government’s refusal to release documents related to the Mount Polley tailings dam collapse.

In an apparent systematic series of breaches of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, government declined to release a 1992 Environmental Assessment report; tailings dam inspection reports from 2011-2013; and other relevant documents. Under the Act, government is required to release documents that are in the public interest.

Delaying the release of the Mount Polley documents, the ELC’s submission argues, may prevent critical evidence and witnesses to events at Mount Polley from ever coming to the attention of the engineering panel appointed by the government to investigate the disaster.

The ELC is calling on the Commissioner to recommend a reform of provincial law requiring routine public posting of critical environmental information, such as impact assessments, permits, amendments, orders, and engineering, tailings storage facility and safety inspection reports, as is currently required in other jurisdictions.