UBC releases report on leak of Gupta docs

The university has released their report on the inadvertent release of a number of documents pertaining to former President Arvind Gupta's resignation. The report found that they are not legally culpable for breach of contract because of the leak.

The review was undertaken by David Loukidelis, information commissioner, ad hoc, for the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada, who reviewed the university’s policies and procedures and made several conclusions.

One of the central conclusions reads, “While the breach was serious, it occurred because of a simple mistake.”

When material released in response to an FOI request includes sections that cannot be released, that material is blacked out, said university counsel Hubert Lai. In the case of emails that made up a large chunk of the Gupta release package, they contained attachments that need to be blacked out. Although pertinent information within the body of the email was redacted in the document release, the attachments to the emails were not.

“It was an honest mistake. People make mistakes. There’s a difference between making an honest mistake and being derelict in your duties,” said Lai. “Unfortunately, I’m not able to discuss what, if any, disciplinary outcomes would be faced by the individual.”

The other conclusions reached by Loukidelis in the report include the need for UBC to make changes to process in order to prevent this type of occurrence in the future, such as ensuring that two people check over future document releases. Lai said that this, among other changes suggested by the report, have been incorporated to process as a result of the incident.

Something else Loukidelis identified as an area for improvement was the staffing of the office. Over the course of the unprecedented number of FOI requests, the Office of Information and Privacy was pushed to their limits.

Lai confirmed that the university is currently in the process of hiring more staff for the office.

“Even before this incident had occurred, we were in discussions about increasing the resourcing. Since the incident occurred, obviously that put things into much sharper relief and the decision has been made to increase resourcing in that office,” said Lai.