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Parliamentary committee issues report on access to information, privacy

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:10 PDT, Mon June 13, 2022

Last Updated: 11:11 PDT, Mon June 13, 2022

The all-party special committee to review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) has released its report with recommendations to improve and modernize access to information and privacy rules in British Columbia's public sector.

FIPPA applies to more than 2,900 public organizations in British Columbia. The act provides a right to access records and imposes limits on the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. It also establishes the office, powers, and responsibilities of the information and privacy commissioner.

The committee has made 34 recommendations, including:

• Immediately clarifying and expanding the types of records that must be released, while moving toward proactive disclosure of all documents that are not explicitly noted as exceptions in the act

• Modernizing and improving how public bodies handle freedom of information requests

• Establishing a comprehensive health-information privacy law

• Regulating automated decision-making

• Enhancing the powers of the information and privacy commissioner

"Freedom of information and privacy are two essential components in building trust in public bodies," said Rick Glumac, committee chair. "We must ensure that the freedom of information system is accessible and effective for British Columbians, and that privacy and oversight provisions keep up with the rapid pace of technological change."

John Rustad, deputy chair, said: "We heard loud and clear that how public bodies handle freedom of information requests needs to change. This report makes a series of recommendations focused on moving British Columbia toward a culture of openness and recommends that public bodies proactively disclose all records not protected by the act."

During the public consultation process, the committee received 97 presentations and written submissions. The report is available online: www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/foi

The members of the committee are:

• Rick Glumac, MLA, Port Moody–Coquitlam (chair)

• John Rustad, MLA, Nechako Lakes (deputy chair)

• Susie Chant, MLA, North Vancouver–Seymour

• Adam Olsen, MLA, Saanich North and the Islands

• Kelli Paddon, MLA, Chilliwack–Kent

• Tom Shypitka, MLA, Kootenay East

• Henry Yao, MLA, Richmond South Centre

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