B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

Is B.C. Government Recording Everything It Should?

CP | James Keller, The Canadian Press | Posted 03.09.2014 | Canada British Columbia

VANCOUVER - On a Tuesday morning last November, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford emerged from a meeting to an...

Here's What I'm Doing to Make Canada's Government More Open -- It's No Secret

Tony Clement | Posted 11.13.2013 | Canada Politics
Tony Clement

If the federal government doesn't want to hear from people about open government, why did we conduct a series of roundtables in five Canadian cities this spring to get feedback on our new open data portal? I even participated in the first Google Hangout by a federal minister to discuss the potential of open data.

Stephen Harper's Secret Open Data Survey

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 11.05.2013 | Canada Politics
Vincent Gogolek

Shhhhh. Don't tell anybody, but the Harperâ„¢ government is 'consulting' Canadians on Open Government. Well, sort of. There has been no press release about the consultation program. No ad campaign, either. And the program was quietly started in the middle of summer, while everyone was on vacation. It's almost as if Harper doesn't want anyone to know about it. Crazy talk, right?

Stop The Ministerial Spin Cycle for a Better B.C. Government

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 07.20.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

Since 2009, the Liberals have shuffled ministers in and out of the Ministers of Citizens' Services and Open Government role so quickly that there's hardly been a chance to make any meaningful progress.

B.C. Election 2013: What The Parties Plan To Tell You

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 07.02.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

The B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, sent all four parties a questionnaire pushing them for clear positions on how they would stop the erosion of our privacy rights and defend our access to government records through Freedom of Information. On April 30th, we received responses from the NDP, the Liberals, and the Greens (we've yet to hear back from the Conservatives). They all had interesting, if decidedly different things to say.

BC Election 2013: Put Information Rights Front And Centre

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 06.12.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

A few short days from now, the writ will drop on the 2013 provincial election, kicking off twenty-eight days of heated campaigning. And while there's no shortage of issues for voters to consider, recent controversies around government secrecy and attempts to undermine Freedom of Information make it clear that information policy should be a top priority for voters.

Federal Open Government Minister Not Fan Of Open Government

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 05.04.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

Treasury Board President Tony Clement is the federal government's Mr. Open Government, but in many ways, his much-hyped open data schemes testify to the Conservative government's general trend toward secrecy and one-way transparency.

B.C. Election Gag Law Fix Should Be In Throne Speech

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 04.14.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

The government had a clear opportunity to fix the gag on free political speech built into our province's Election Act last spring, when the act was being amended by the legislature. For reasons unknown, they chose not to.

Why Can't Victoria Police Be More Like Ottawa's Force?

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 03.27.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

Apparently the illegal scanning of licence plates by Victoria police will continue until fixes are implemented. Unlike their counterparts in Saanich and Ottawa, Victoria police have no intention of switching off the cameras during privacy compliance upgrades.

2012 Tough Year For B.C. Information Rights

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 02.26.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

In B.C. and across Canada, the past 12 months have seen information rights make headlines on a regular basis. And usually not in a good way. At the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, much of our year was spent (once again) in sparring matches with the provincial government over access, transparency, and privacy issues.

Give the Gift of Transparency This Holiday Season

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 02.02.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

This holiday season, consultation on the deficiencies in the Access to Information Act provides all of us with a chance to do our best Jacob Marley and remind the Info-Scrooge Conservatives that they once campaigned on the position that government works best when open and accountable. Don't miss your chance to participate.

It Takes Two To Kill Illegal Police Licence Surveillance

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 01.22.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

B.C.'s Information and Privacy Commissioner took a stiff shot at the use of Automatic License Plate Recognition technology by the Victoria police. But it will likely take more than just her efforts to bring this ever-expanding surveillance system back in line with privacy law. The RCMP simply shouldn't be running a surveillance system on people who haven't broken any law, and they shouldn't be able to take advantage of the federal-provincial jurisdictional split to do so either.

Is B.C.'s New CareCard Another Technological Quagmire For Province?

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 12.31.2012 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

Despite the disastrous launch of the Integrated Case Management System earlier this year, the B.C. government is poised to unveil its next multimillion-dollar, can't-fail IT project: an ID card for everyone in the province. With ICBC in the middle of a labour dispute that finds corporation employees refusing training on the new card, the massive project is on hold, only weeks before its slated November launch.

B.C. Government Drags Heels On University Subsidiary Accountability

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 12.24.2012 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

The B.C. government sure does love secrecy for its educational institutions -- or at least their subsidiary companies. What the information and privacy commissioner said would be a relatively simple change to definitions was, according to a B.C. minister, a much bigger issue requiring consultations and even changes to other sections of the act. So, a year later, what has been done? In a word: nothing.

B.C. Election Law Is A Comedy Of Errors

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 12.12.2012 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

Faulty advertising rules caused extensive problems for small spenders such as non-profit and charity groups during the 2009 B.C. election. The rules led to widespread confusion, wasted resources, anxiety and, most dangerously, self-censorship among organizations that spent little or nothing on election advertising. The government should have (and could have) fixed this situation when it was amending the law this spring, but chose not to.

Trying To Bust Through B.C. Ministry of Health's Wall of Secrecy

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 12.03.2012 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

Citing a whole range of exceptions from legal privilege to law enforcement to personal privacy, the ministry refused to release any of the records we requested. This, despite the fact that our request should have little or nothing to do with lawyers or police! An RCMP investigation shouldn't mean that every record held by the ministry is automatically off-limits to FOI requests.

B.C.'s Black Hole Of Public Information

CP | James Keller, The Canadian Press | Posted 11.13.2012 | Canada British Columbia

VANCOUVER - The British Columbia government responds to nearly a quarter of all requests under freedom-of-information laws by insisting it has no reco...

Records? What Records? Ogopogo? What Ogopogo?

Vincent Gogolek | Posted 11.05.2012 | Canada British Columbia
Vincent Gogolek

Nearly a quarter all general freedom of information requests filed with the government between July 2011 and July 2012 came back with no responsive records. None at all. Are FOI requests simply becoming too exotic and obscure? Are British Columbians suddenly asking for information about Sasquatch or Ogopogo? Or is there a bigger issue at hand -- a systemic, structural problem with the way the B.C. government is managing our information?