Request for info on tuition resets denied

Tuition resets for 2016/17 in pharmacy, agriculture and engineering discussed, but increased amounts unknown

Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education denied the Dalhousie Student Union’s (DSU) request to see Dalhousie’s recommendations for upcoming tuition resets.

John Hutton, DSU Vice President (Academic and External), filed a Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Act (FOIPOP) request to the provincial government to see any documents sent to the government about Dalhousie’s tuition resets, as well as correspondences from Dalhousie’s vice-presidents and president about tuition resets between April and June.

DSU President Dan Nicholson discovered that these tuition resets would apply to pharmacy, agriculture and engineering.

Hutton first heard about the tuition resets at a meeting of the Board of Governors in May.

Ian Nason, Dalhousie’s VP Finance and Administration, refused to show Hutton the documents he sent to the provincial government about recommendations for the increase in these faculties’ tuitions.

Hutton said that Nason explained he didn’t want to tell Hutton because he may put the information in the hands of the wrong people.

“What we’re trying to do is blow the whistle early because they’ve already signalled their intentions to make tuition resets,” Hutton said in an earlier interview with the Gazette.

In an email from Scott Burbridge, NS Labour and Advanced Education’s Information Access and Privacy Manager, he said Hutton’s request was denied on the grounds of Section 17 and Section 21 of the FOIPOP Act.

Section 17 addresses that FOIPOP requests can be denied if the applicant “could reasonably be expected to harm the financial or economic interest of a public body” because the information is a trade secret, has or is likely to have monetary value, or could be prematurely disclosed.

Section 21 says that a head of a public can deny a FOIPOP request because it could reveal trade secrets, the information was supplied in confidence or the disclosure could harm competition, interfere with negotiations, “similar information no longer being supplied to the public body when it is in the public interest that similar information continue to be supplied,” result in financial loss or gain to someone in the organization or reveal information to a mediator.

The budget committee won’t confirm tuition resets until they finalize the budget, which will be in December or January.

Hutton said that he will appeal the denied FOIPOP.

Leave a Comment

Sabina Wex

Sabina is the Gazette's Managing Editor.

Email Sabina at