NDP seeks probe of CRA message destruction


OTTAWA – A New Democrat MP is asking the federal information watchdog to investigate the Canada Revenue Agency’s systematic deletion of employee text messages.

Charlie Angus, the party’s access to information and ethics critic, also wants information commissioner Suzanne Legault to look into whether other federal agencies are doing the same thing.

The Toronto Star reported last month that the federal revenue agency had destroyed all text message records of its employees and stopped electronically saving such messages.

The newspaper cited documents released under the Access to Information Act that said Shared Services Canada — the federal organization responsible for information technology services — had wiped the records last August.

The revenue agency told the Star it considered the messages transitory information, and had instructed the computer services organization to destroy them and to no longer log its employees’ instant messages, including regular texts, BlackBerry messages and PINs.

In his letter today to Legault, Angus says the revenue agency did not verify whether it had a process to determine if any of these records were of business value, in which case they must be preserved.

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