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30Nov
2015

FOI and Privacy Update

Access to information and privacy cases are making headlines in British Columbia. This year, from investigations into the use of employee monitoring software to the “triple deleting” of government emails, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC (“OIPC”) has uncovered major deficiencies in public bodies’ compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”). This paper examines a roundup of notable investigation reports and guidelines published by the OIPC on access and privacy, and presents a short freedom of information case law update.

As the independent agency mandated to oversee the information and privacy practices of public bodies, the OIPC launched its audit and compliance program in 2014 to assess the extent of public sector organizations’ compliance with FIPPA. Under this program, the OIPC has thus far examined the BC government’s privacy breach management (January 2015) and examined selected BC health authorities’ privacy breach management (September 2015). It was recently announced that the OIPC will be reviewing access to information practices of the City of Vancouver as its next focus. Accordingly, now, more than ever, there is a need for local governments to undertake a review of both their access to information and their privacy management practices and to implement a comprehensive management framework in line with FIPPA.

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