STATEMENT: Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Taken To Court Over Access to Information Request
FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK -
In recent months, it came to light that the Government of New Brunswick spends an estimated $700,000 on "Anti-Bullying" within the Anti-Bullying Unit of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
BullyingCanada, a national anti-bullying charitable organization, requested in March 2015 a copy of all related expenses for the $700 000 budget under the Access to Information Act. After a 90 day extension, the Department released 298 pages, with mostly redacted details about how the funds were spent.
BullyingCanada was hoping to review the information in full (minus redaction of personal information) in order to understand what the Government of New Brunswick does with respect to anti-bullying programs and services in schools across the province.
On June 1, 2015 BullyingCanada served the Minister of Education with a notice for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to appear in the Court of Queen's Bench at the Fredericton Justice Building on September 9th, 2015 at 9:30 am before Justice Judy Clendening.
"BullyingCanada wanted to see what public money is being used for with regards to bullying prevention. Getting the information should not have to involve a court appearance. We hope that Justice Clendening agrees that the information should be released for public viewing" said Rob Frenette, Co-Executive Director of BullyingCanada.
"We hope that this action will show the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development that it is worth its while to be more transparent. After all – this information is to better equip teachers with training and students with tools and resources when they face a bullying situation."