The City has filed a petition for judicial review application in the BC Supreme Court today, seeking review of the April 12th order of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to release certain documents relating to the City’s decision to purchase the water utility from EPCOR. As a result of s. 59(2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the April 12th order is now stayed for 120 days.
The City did attempt to avoid the necessity of a judicial review proceeding by first asking the OIPC to re-open the inquiry which led to the Order on April 12. However, the OIPC declined to re-open the inquiry, which it advised the City of late in the afternoon on Friday, May 26. Therefore, as a result of its concerns about the effect of the Order as well as some of the conclusions drawn by the Adjudicator, the City determined that a petition for judicial review was in the best interests of the public.
As most people already know, the City acquired the water utility from EPCOR in 2015. However, the final purchase price for the utility has not yet been determined. The final purchase price is to be determined through negotiations or arbitration, in the event that negotiations are unsuccessful. The City’s priority has always been to ensure that its negotiations with EPCOR are not compromised by the release of any confidential information or documents relating to its strategy or financial analysis. Therefore, while Council has resolved to release to the public City records relating to the EPCOR purchase once the final purchase price has been determined, it remains of the view that releasing the information now could be damaging to the City’s financial interests and therefore the interests of its taxpayers.