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P.E.I.'s privacy commissioner to step aside

Karen Rose speaks during a standing committee meeting.
Karen Rose speaks during a standing committee meeting. - SaltWire File Photo

Karen Rose will not re-offer after serving for a combined 9.5 years

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The Island’s information and privacy commissioner will be stepping aside in 2020.

Karen Rose will not be re-offering after her five-year term expires this year. 

Karen Rose - File photo
Karen Rose - File photo

Rose was the first to fill the role of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in 2002. The office is tasked with reviewing complaints related to disclosures of documents under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act. The office also reviews appeals related to the Health Information Act.

After her appointment in 2002, Rose resigned from the position in 2005 after a move to Ontario. She took over the role again on an interim basis, while still living in Ontario, between 2006 and 2008. After returning to P.E.I., Rose was appointed once again to the role by the legislative assembly in 2015.

In an interview, Rose said she was stepping aside because she felt it was time for new leadership.

“You really should have a limited period of time in these jobs because it's really nice to have fresh ideas, new approaches,” Rose said.

“As long as you've got staff who are familiar with the processes and the orders you've issued, it's nice to have a new commissioner every so many years."

Rose noted that under P.E.I. legislation, unlike some other provinces, the information and privacy commissioner is not limited in the number of terms he or she can serve. 

The decisions from Rose’s office have often created headlines.

A 2015 report found 47 examples of privacy breaches by staff of the Workers Compensation Board of P.E.I. between 2011 and 2015. Another 2017 report found that a leak of internal information related to three former government employees, who had publicly raised concerns about the province’s Provincial Nominee Program, violated privacy laws. The leaks, including human resources complaints and private emails, were obtained by the P.E.I. Liberal Party and were released publicly in 2011.   

As for what she plans to do after completing her term, Rose said she was unsure.

"I haven't decided. Actually, my husband asked me last week, 'are you excited?'” Rose said. 

“He called it retiring – I don't like that word."

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