Why the secrecy? Mayor Provenzano and City hide news media spending from taxpayers

Mayor Provenzano and City Hall

SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – In an update to an ongoing story, on behalf of Sault Online I filed a freedom of information request from the City of Sault Ste. Marie regarding their news media spending.

As previously reported, City Hall stonewalled the initial request to provide proof of where tax dollars go to media spending.

The City requested we file a Freedom of Information Act R.S.O. 1990 request for the information.

One of the stated purposes of the Act is to provide a right of access to information that should be provided to the public.

We were requested to provide exactly what we are looking for, spelled out and this is exactly what we put in our request.

“I’m looking for information on the city spending within the media. Including advertising, notices etc. within the departments. Specifically, for spending with SooToday and Sault Star from 2015 until July of 2020.”

Upon receiving a request from city solicitor Jeffery King for clarification we explained further.

For your clarification, I am looking for the individual total spend per news media company.

An example:

  • 2015 $xxx.xxx went to Sault Star
  • 2015 $xxx.xxx went to SooToday
  • 2020 $xxx.xxx Explore Magazine (Paidvertorial on May 27, 2020)

The FOI was officially filed on September 25 (2020) according to the act the city has 28 days to respond to the request.

If you have any other municipal issues you would like me to investigate feel free to reach out to me or our newsroom.

FOI SooToday Sault Star


  1. Am I ever glad to be moving my family and business out of here. In my opinion, such inept and short sighted city management. Met some great people but have largely regretted moving here – the town is nothing like the city’s tourism marketing promised.
    Other than missing a few friends I won’t be looking back.

  2. Right on Dan! I look forward to reading the response.

    Shameless plug….don’t pay your property taxes! We do have the power to be heard…let’s pull together fellow citizens. People in “power” hear more clearly when they lose $$$. Also, I’ve come across many people who don’t realize that you can appeal MPAC’s assessment of your property. It’s too late to appeal the last assessment but read the form on your next assessment. MPAC has been over valuing properties which equals higher property taxes/more money for the city to mismanage. Big fat salaries, city vehicles, cell phones…but never mind the condition of our roads and city properties, quality of police services, etc.

    • I’ve tried to appeal MPAC’s ridiculous assessment – they weaseled their way way inside my house while I was away and based their assessment on the interior too. You have to be nearly a lawyer since it’s just short of a motions court with the Assessment Review Board.
      You also have to pay $132.50 AND take the time off work.

      • Hi Brian. I appealed too. I showed the guy everything they didn’t even know about…took him into the crawlspace and in the house. Also pushed the inconveniences due to the location of my home. Anyway, my assessment was reduced by almost $30,000. I didn’t have to pay anything to appeal. I would fight that big time! That charge is only to discourage people from appealing. Don’t let them bully you… They entered your house without your permission?

        • I wonder if the process has changed, there’s definitely a fee now. When researching it, it was strongly recommended to have a lawyer since MPAC would have a lawyer. Insane.
          Yes MPAC entered my home without my permission as the homeowner. My mother in law was babysitting and they told her they “needed to enter” so she let them in. As the homeowner I did not want them inside. They clearly took advantage.

          • It was 2016 when I appealed. I’m just sitting here shaking my head at what happened to you! Yes, they clearly took advantage. When was your property assessed? There was no lawyer “threat” or anything like that when I appealed. I see it as intimidation, bullying, a way to discourage people from taking a stand for what’s fair, just.

  3. Our city council has NEVER been transparent and that will never change. Taxpayers have a right to know where every tax dollar was spent. WE ELECTED A FEW NEW FACES DURING THE LAST ELECTION. Many of us were hoping the fresh faces would bring about reasonable approaches to how the tax dollars would be spent. It seems the new faces were sent to a course in how to hold the line and follow like sheep.

  4. I am not surprised about the secrecy,during Ward one Election the
    sitting councillors impaired driver charge and licence suspension was kept secret till after the councillor was re -elected.

  5. Oof – always nice to see good journalism pushing for some political accountability, but be careful – you’re messing with the cult of personality that is Sault Mafia Marie.

    • There is plenty of mafiosa choice of character in the world not at all directly affiliated with organized mafia. I have no double, at all, in my mind.

      • Clearly you missed that it was tongue-in-cheek.
        Yes there is RCMP confirmed organized crime here, one of the reasons there’s such a large RCMP presence compared to the size of the city.
        Unarguably, The Soo is comprised of many strongly formed cliques where only the chosen few locals are allowed admittance. Beyond that there are ‘cults’ – the soccer cults, hockey cults, gymnastic cults, downtown business cults, popular millenial business cults, etc. Sure that exists elsewhere too but from my experience not at such exclusive and influential level to damaging circumstances.
        My career has led me to temporarily reside in many cities across Ontario and several others across Canada. I’ve never experience such quirkiness like Sault Ste Marie.

        • I have known for decades that organized crime is rampant here and elsewhere.

          There is neither a large or small RCMP presence in Sault, Ontario. I have seen NONE at all.

          The level of corruption hit an all time low in the nineteen-eighties. There is no reasonable doubt in my mind.

          Where things have been enabled to be by too many is not at all a promising situation. Definitely not at this point in time.

          My input is of my own independent thinking, findings and conclusions.

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