Trust is gained through transparency. Understanding how a freedom of information request is processed helps us better understand how to frame our requests. Without information available online, we made a request for it. We chose a formal request to ensure we received a response backed by legislated guarantees and redress.
At a high-level, how are freedom of information requests processed in the government of British Columbia?
Policies and procedures used by Information Access Operations detailing the process and workflow of responding to a freedom of information request. Date range: 2021.01.01-2023.01.01
We discovered a lot about the process in the 130-page release. The most concerning element is the government redacting portions of the document. As highlighted in the response letter:
You can quickly find this on page 104 of CTZ-2023-30150 pertaining to what appears to be a training manual and “Stages of an FOI Request – Page 69”.
It is incredibly difficult for the public to trust an access to information process that is itself secretive. To redact portions of a training manual based on legal advice and policy recommendations would seem to be an over redaction within a manual of this nature.
If the government can’t be transparent about a transparency process, it’s incredibly difficult to trust what they are releasing.
We’ve asked for a review from the OIPC. We hope the public interest will be considered paramount in this instance.
The request was filed on 2023.01.06.
CTZ-2023-30150 was received on 2023.03.07
This is post is a result of our access assessment research. We are getting meta with FOI, by using access requests to inform our research about access rights.
Have an idea for an access request that meets our criteria?