Thanks, Mr. Chair. Yes, this really springs from an issue that I've raised several times in this House about how the individual names and student loan remission amounts are listed in a schedule in the public accounts. I have characterized that as an unfair and undue invasion of privacy, and, in fact, the Privacy Commissioner herself has characterized it in the same way.
When the Commissioner appeared before the standing committee to present her last report, we asked the Commissioner about this, and she did provide us with copies of a couple of letters that she has sent to the Comptroller General on this subject. I just want to sort of highlight a few points, here, from this correspondence. She says that "the disclosure of the information in question, which pairs names with the amount of loans received and the amount of these loans for loan remissions and has resulted in a forgiveness of all or part of that debt, clearly amounts to a disclosure of personal information." She goes on to say, "Is it really necessary for individuals to give up their right to privacy in order to take advantage of the remission program?"
And in a second letter, she says, "There is nothing that I can find in the act which requires that the names of those students involved need to be included in the public accounts report."
That is coming from the Privacy Commissioner herself, who happens to be a lawyer, but this is just bad practice in terms of certainly in no way does it encourage our students to seek loan remissions, and I think, really, there is a perception that they are categorized in the same grouping of bad debts and write-offs and forgiveness. That is clearly not what this is about, and there is no legal requirement for this. I really want to encourage the Minister of Finance to stop this practice.
So that's what this is aimed at. The next recommendation is also aimed at this matter, but we have to stop this. This does not encourage our students to seek student loan remissions, and I have said this is an unfair invasion of their privacy and it needs to stop. Thanks, Mr. Chair.