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BC Government keeps FOI requests under wraps
August 22nd, 2012 9:49am
Only a year after announcing a number of open government initiatives to much fanfare, Christy Clark’s government is failing to meet its own standards for posting completed freedom of information requests.

According to a complaint filed with the Information and Privacy Commissioner by FIPA, 67 percent of completed general FOI requests have not been posted on the Web by the BC Government.

The government’s policy states that:
2.1.1 Responses to General FOI Requests must be posted to the Open Information Website, unless an exemption is approved. Responses to General FOI Requests include the response letter and the responsive Records.

“They said these exemptions would only be applied in ‘limited circumstances,’” said FIPA Executive Director Vincent Gogolek. “We don’t see how 67 percent of requests fall under anybody’s definition of ‘limited circumstances.’”

FIPA has also taken issue with the criteria the government says it uses to exempt FOI responses from disclosure. The FIPA complaint points out that the criteria used to block the posting of FOI requests are already included in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

“Obviously, any information that can’t be disclosed would have already been removed from the records by the government before being released to the requester,” Gogolek said. “The so-called criteria are really just an excuse for posting or refusing to post information as they see fit, and that is not what the Commissioner recommended just last year.”

A list of ten examples of FOI requests not posted by the government (including records relating to historical designation of Emily Carr’s House of All Sorts) can be found attached to our news release on this issue.

See coverage of the complaint here

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