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This website was developed through generous grants from

the Law Foundation of British Columbia

Notary Foundation


the Notary Foundation of British Columbia

Notary Foundation


BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) is a registered sponsor under the Election Act

The Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

FIPA is a non-partisan, non-profit society that was established in 1991 to promote and defend freedom of information and privacy rights in Canada. Our goal is to empower citizens by increasing their access to information and their control over their own personal information. We serve a wide variety of individuals and organizations through programs of public education, public assistance, research, and law reform.

Who controls information? Who has access?

In today's information-driven society, the issue of access to and control over information is enormously important to the survival and success of individuals and organizations. It is also vital to the continued viability of our democracy.

First, open and accountable government depends greatly on the citizens' access to accurate and timely information about government and its activities.

Second, our ability to maintain personal privacy depends on our power to limit the surveillance of our personal lives by government and private sector institutions. This includes a right to limit and control the collection and use of our personal information.

Freedom of Information

Provincial and federal freedom of information laws were created to empower individual citizens. They give us access to information that previously was available only to government leaders and insiders.

Our governments are vast storehouses of information about every aspect of society and every individual in it. Citizens cannot be full players without a right of access to this information.

FIPA seeks to empower citizens by increasing their right of access to government-held information.

We were the major force in getting BC's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act passed, and we are its main defender. This act has been called the most progressive legislation of its kind in the world.

The Flow of Information

Beyond access to government information, there is the issue of access to all the other vital information flowing in society.

Canadians are experiencing fundamental changes in the way society functions. On-line communications grow daily. The emergence of the Internet, thousands of networks and millions of web pages offers a new channel of communication between individuals and groups -- increasing our knowledge base and potentially, our quality of life.

FIPA seeks to empower citizens by promoting and defending the principle of universal and affordable access to the basic information channels of our time

Privacy Protection

Privacy rights are assuming more importance every day as an essential pillar of human freedom and a necessary protection for other human rights such as our freedoms of thought, association and expression.

Because knowledge brings power to those who possess it, knowledge of our private lives tends to increase the power and influence that governments and other institutions have over us. Limits must be imposed in order to maintain the delicate balance of power that sustains our democracy.

FIPA seeks to empower citizens by limiting the surveillance activities of the state, and by increasing our right of access to our own personal information and our ability to control the collection, use and sharing of our personal information, wherever it is stored.

Main Activities

FIPA is one of a very few public interest groupS in Canada devoted solely to the advancement of freedom of information (FOI) and privacy rights.

Public Education

FIPA provides educational services to the public on FOI and privacy issues and legislation through our speaker's bureau, website, publications, workshops and conferences.

Public Assistance

FIPA has provided thousands of individuals and groups with information and advice about FOI and privacy issues via our telephone and Internet help lines.

Legal and Policy Research

FIPA is a centre for legal and policy research. We have produced over 40 studies and reports on FOI, privacy and other information issues.

Public Interest Advocacy and Law Reform

FIPA is a tireless watchdog and advocate for FOI and privacy rights. We are frequently consulted by governments and have mounted successful public campaigns for FOI and privacy rights.

What opinion leaders have said about FIPA

"I have been a close observer and admirer of FIPA's role as public advocate for freedom of information and privacy in B.C. since 1990, and I believe that it has a vital, continuing importance to stable and wise governance in our society."

Stephen Owen, former Member of Parliament, BC Ombudsman, Deputy Attorney General and Commissioner for Resources & Environment

"I believe we are entering a critical period where the values of privacy and human dignity will be threatened as never before... FIPA's ongoing role as public advocates for privacy in this world of new technologies is one that is critical to supporting sound public policy in B.C."

Bruce Philips, former Privacy Commissioner of Canada

"There is much work to be done in the areas of privacy and freedom of information, and the BCCLA believes that it would be a serious blow if FIPA did not have the resources to take on some of this work."

John Westwood, former Executive Director, BC Civil Liberties Association
Board of Directors -- 2012-2013

President: Richard Rosenberg - Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Computer Science, University of BC
Vice President: Gwen Barlee - Policy Director, The Wilderness Committee
Treasurer: Tom Crean - Owner/Manager, Kearney Funeral Home
Bruno Godin - Law student, UBC
Carla Graebner - Librarian, W.A.C. Bennett Library, Simon Fraser University
Michael Markwick - Instructor & Convenor, Communication, Capilano University
Ann Rees - Instructor, Journalism, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Keith Reynolds - National Research Representative, Canadian Union of Public Employees
James Symons - President and CEO, Power Diagnostic Technologies, Ltd.

Board of Advisors

Colin Bennett - Professor, Dept. of Political Science, University of Victoria
Terry Eastwood - Professor, Dept. of Library, Archival & Information Studies, UBC
Darrell Evans - Founder and Executive Director, Canadian Institute for Information and Privacy Studies
Sara Levine - Barrister & Solicitor at Alliance Lex
Alasdair Roberts - Associate Professor, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Valerie Steeves - Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Mark Wexler - Professor, Faculty of Business Administration, Simon Fraser University


Vincent Gogolek - Executive Director
Tyler Morgenstern - Program Director

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