February 19, 2020

Pinehouse Inquiry Report Released

Report Recommends That Members Of Council Should Not Be Removed From Office

Today, Government Relations Minister Lori Carr released the formal inquiry report and related findings into the Northern Village of Pinehouse.

“I would like to thank former Justice William Vancise and his team for their work on this very important matter,” Carr said.  “This report has helped provide considerable clarity into the complex situation within the village and the many challenges it faces.  Mr. Vancise recommends that members of council should not be removed from office.  The Government of Saskatchewan accepts this recommendation.”

The former Justice noted in his report that in some instances the village council was not meeting their legislative responsibilities in the areas of access to information requests and some municipal operations, but determined this was not as a result of a deliberate disregard for the law.  He also noted that the village had taken steps to resolve these issues.

“This report is not an exoneration, nor will the province accept a ‘business as usual’ approach from the village,” Carr said.  “Clearly there is more work to do within the community.  That is why I am immediately ordering officials within the ministry to arrange for temporary administration support-staff to provide hands-on assistance to the local council.”

These positions will remain in Pinehouse for up to six months and are part of a series of actions the community must carry out to help ensure the community is meetings its obligations under the related legislation.

For a full list of inquiry report recommendations, as well as future expectations for the village, please review the attached background information.

The Government of Saskatchewan initially ordered an inspection into the Northern Village of Pinehouse in December 2018, after citations from the Provincial Privacy Commissioner for failing to properly respond to freedom of information requests.  The inspection was expanded into a formal inquiry after an interim report was submitted to government in the spring of 2019.

At that time, the provincial government appointed a temporary “supervisor” to the village to provide advice and guidance to the local council and called for a special audit to be carried out.  The official inquiry ended in late November 2019.  The final report has been under review by officials in both the ministries of Government Relations and Justice since it was received on December 23, 2019.

Throughout this process, the Government of Saskatchewan has remained committed to releasing both reports publicly.

The inspection, inquiry and special audit reports can be found at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/municipal-administration/municipal-inquiries.