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MLA Paddon Part of Committee Report on Access to Information, Privacy

Victoria/Fraser Valley – 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.

This committee includes Kelli Paddon, MLA, Chilliwack-Kent.

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; 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 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

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