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Vincent Gogolek

Executive Director, BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

Vincent Gogolek is the Executive Director of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1987 and has degrees in Law (University of Ottawa) and Journalism (Carleton), and a diploma in International and Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics. His work history includes stintsin journalism, law and intergovernmental affairs. He has worked for legal aid in B.C. and Ontario and has been Policy Director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.
B.C. Needs To Take Action On Freedom Of Information And Privacy

B.C. Needs To Take Action On Freedom Of Information And Privacy Reforms

Former Information and Privacy Commissioner Denham released an investigation report more than three years ago documenting a disturbing rise in "oral government," which she found to be centered in the Office of the Premier. To remedy this situation, Commissioner Denham called for a written duty to document (among other things) to be included in the FOI law.
10/12/2016 01:34 EDT
Pressure Is On Trudeau To Seriously Improve Access To

Pressure Is On Trudeau To Seriously Improve Access To Information

The Access to Information, Ethics and Privacy Committee dropped a major report last week before wrapping up for the summer. Unanimously approved by the multi-partisan committee, the report pushes the Trudeau government to make some serious and long-overdue changes to the law.
06/21/2016 04:18 EDT
B.C. Byelection Rules Restrict Freedom Of

B.C. Byelection Rules Restrict Freedom Of Expression

Unbeknownst to many, a gag was put on free expression across British Columbia. When the B.C. government called the byelections in the districts of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, public communication about many important issues suddenly became "election advertising."
01/08/2016 10:48 EST
Justin Trudeau Must Plug Ottawa's Information Black

Justin Trudeau Must Plug Ottawa's Information Black Hole

Once a government official says a document is cabinet confidence, neither the information commissioner nor the Federal Court can look at the document to confirm that it is and that the exclusion is being applied appropriately. But this supermassive problem is not being addressed.
12/09/2015 03:54 EST
'Information Crime' Big Theme In B.C. Spring 2015

'Information Crime' Big Theme In B.C. Spring 2015 Session

This was a spring session that was full of blows to information rights in B.C. Changing the law to make sure nobody is able to be held legally responsible for their actions in misusing government information has been a common theme.
06/04/2015 12:43 EDT
Access to Info Was Mostly Gloomy With Some Rays of Light in

Access to Info Was Mostly Gloomy With Some Rays of Light in 2014

We can't say 2014 was a banner year for Access to Information in this country. According to the Centre for Law and Democracy, which publishes a ranking of countries that have right to information laws, Canada continues to drop and is now down to number 57 (out of 100). And there are lots of reasons why Canada has dropped.
12/18/2014 05:59 EST
A Big Freedom Of Information Loophole Is Finally

A Big Freedom Of Information Loophole Is Finally Closed

Two very important orders rolled out of the B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner's office, closing a massive loophole that allowed public bodies in this province to avoid properly responding to Freedom of Information requests.
09/10/2014 08:58 EDT
Will Harper Follow Tony Abbott's Lead and Abolish the Information

Will Harper Follow Tony Abbott's Lead and Abolish the Information Commissioner?

We are currently embroiled in a controversy over the appointment of a new privacy commissioner. Daniel Therrien, a long time senior government lawyer working on issues like immigration and national defence, was apparently chosen instead of the candidates preferred by the government's own selection committee.
06/03/2014 12:30 EDT
Will B.C. Continue To Thumb Its Nose At Information

Will B.C. Continue To Thumb Its Nose At Information Commissioner?

She ended her letter to the minister with a call to action: "It is vital for open and accountable government that, whatever the form of the entity, if it is carrying on public business, it should be subject to the [Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act]." Two and a half years later, there is still no sign of action from the government.
02/07/2014 05:42 EST
Transit Referendum Should Be Delayed To Avoid Cluster

Transit Referendum Should Be Delayed To Avoid Cluster Fiasco

If the transit referendum was held at the same time as the municipal election, there is a real risk that people exercising their freedom of speech on one would be subject to severe penalties under the other. This is because the B.C. government has imposed draconian penalties (a year in jail, $10,000 fines) for those they define as "election advertising sponsors" in provincial election law.
01/29/2014 02:22 EST
Concerned About A B.C. ID Card? Have Your Say Before the Deadline

Concerned About A B.C. ID Card? Have Your Say Before the Deadline Passes

The ID Card, known as the BC Services Card, has been rolling out since February, and it combines both the drivers license and the provincial health care card, with lots more to come. If you are concerned about the implications for our privacy and our pocketbooks, you should definitely put your opinions to the consultation panel -- but hurry: the deadline for submissions is Nov. 27.
11/22/2013 03:11 EST
Which Is More Embarrassing: Our Men's Soccer Team or National FOI

Which Is More Embarrassing: Our Men's Soccer Team or National FOI Ranking?

The national police force has apparently stopped responding to Access to Information requests, and one federal department (National Defence) said it would take 1100 days (about three years) to respond to one particular request. They released the documents after the Commissioner took them to Federal Court over the delay.
10/02/2013 08:50 EDT
Will Our Government Become More

Will Our Government Become More Transparent?

Delays and fees in Freedom of Information requests are reaching such ridiculous proportions that if you didn't laugh you'd cry. And worst of all, our various rulers are more than happy to continue blocking our information rights, seeming to believe they will have no price to pay. But there are a number of potential cracks in the wall of secrecy at both the federal and provincial levels.
09/25/2013 12:20 EDT
Stephen Harper's Secret Open Data

Stephen Harper's Secret Open Data Survey

Shhhhh. Don't tell anybody, but the Harper™ 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?
09/05/2013 05:48 EDT
A BC Service Card Offer We Can't

A BC Service Card Offer We Can't Refuse?

The province's new ID card, known as the BC Services Card, began rolling out earlier this year. At present, it combines both drivers licence and provincial health care card. Given the hundreds of millions of dollars the government has spent on other high-profile IT projects that failed miserably -- including BCeSIS, Integrated Case Management -- the provincial government has real reason to be concerned about what citizens think of their latest project.
08/26/2013 06:54 EDT
Harpers' Gag Orders Sweep While Canadians

Harpers' Gag Orders Sweep While Canadians Sleep

The Harper government wants to hide all of its secrets. A Canadian Press reported noticed a troubling policy detail buried in the feds' legislative bulletin that would dramatically expand the number of current and former federal government employees under a lifetime gag order, potentially curbing the right to free expression of thousands of Canadians.
06/27/2013 11:30 EDT
Transparency? Not On Harper's

Transparency? Not On Harper's Watch

Over the last several months, the federal government has repeatedly thrown up the claim that theirs is "the most transparent government in Canadian history," even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is categorically untrue. Even the practice of stomping on backbenchers who push for more transparency is nothing new for this government.
06/09/2013 02:36 EDT