On October 18th 2021 the BC NDP Government under Premier John Horgan and Minister Lisa Beare introduced Bill 22 – 2021: Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, 2021.
As analysts and others dove into the content the shock was palpable. The NDP Government was abandoning their prior stance and commitments to greater transparency and accountability. In every analysis the amendments were seen to increase barriers to access information and decrease government accountability.
From day one the majority government could easily pass the legislation and appeared prepared to do so. FIPA engaged its broader network to advocate for positive law reform in the public interest. Knowing that amendments to introduced legislation were unlikely, we strove to ensure the more transparency process of the Special Legislative Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act would be enabled to do its work unhindered by having the legislation change while conducted open consultations.
The engagement lead to greater public awareness that delayed passage. For government to advance its legislative agenda they were required to use an autocratic tool to shut down debate and apply time allocation. On November 25th the legislation was passed and received royal assent with a number of clauses never being actively debated. Our activities included: