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Former Barrie councillor seeks millions in damages over alleged confidentiality breach


A former Barrie city councillor and mayoral candidate is seeking millions of dollars in damages from the City and an unnamed individual, alleging confidential information was released to the public, damaging his reputation.

CTV News has obtained a statement of claim filed by Mike McCann in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on March 28. The defendants are listed as The City of Barrie and an unidentified John Doe.

McCann, who represented Ward 10 for two terms before unsuccessfully running for mayor in 2022, is seeking $5,000,000 from both the City of Barrie for special damages from negligence and defendant John Doe for "misfeasance in public office."

McCann is seeking another $250,000 from the City for general damages caused by negligence and $250,000 from John Doe for mental suffering.

Another $250,000 is being sought from each defendant for aggravated and punitive damages.

The claim comes as a result of confidential information that McCann alleges was improperly leaked to the media in regard to a complaint filed by a city staffer that McCann allegedly sexually assaulted and sexually harassed her in 2019.

According to the statement of claim, the City hired a third party to conduct an investigation into the allegations filed against McCann. That report was then provided to city councillors, with the statement claiming it was clearly marked as confidential in multiple locations.

McCann alleges that councillors met to discuss the report in camera in October 2020. The statement of claim alleges that an article later published on an online news site in April 2022 claimed to have obtained the confidential report.

The statement holds the City of Barrie responsible for the leak, saying "inadequate policies and procedures to protect confidential information from leaks enabled and caused the leak."

McCann is claiming that the unnamed John Doe, either a councillor or city staffer, leaked the report intentionally, alleging that the individual wanted to cause harm to McCann.

The former mayoral candidate claims that the leak has caused damage to him personally and professionally, claiming he has lost a substantial amount of clients and had to reduce his workforce from 40 employees to fewer than 10.

McCann claims the City enabled the leak, referencing a recent report by the Integrity Commissioner focussed on leaked information by current councillor Clare Riepma. Riepma claimed that the leak was unintentional.

In his statement of claim, McCann alleges this proves a "culture at Barrie where confidentiality is a matter of mere lip service."

The City of Barrie has a total of 20 days from when the statement was filed to file its own statement of defence. A spokesperson said they were unable to comment on the matter as it is before the courts. Top Stories

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