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Posted: June 10, 2022

Local MLA helps shape report on access to info and privacy

MLA Tom Shypitka

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka is part of an all-party special committee reviewing the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) that has released a 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 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; and

* 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 Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA 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.”

Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad, deputy chair, added: “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:

The members of the committee are: Rick Glumac, MLA, Port Moody-Coquitlam (chair); John Rustad, MLA, Nechako Lakes (deputy chair); Tom Shypitka, MLA, Kootenay East; Susie Chant, MLA, North Vancouver-Seymour; Adam Olsen, MLA, Saanich North and the Islands; Kelli Paddon, MLA, Chilliwack-Kent; and Henry Yao, MLA, Richmond South Centre.


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