Former BC Information Commissioner Loukidelis also wants penalties for obstruction of FOI
In a report released today, former BC Information and Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis repeated much of what current Commissioner Elizabeth Denham recommended in her October 2015 report on government employees’ destruction of records relating to the Highway of Tears.
Loukidelis added his voice to calls for a legislated duty to document and for penalties for those who obstruct FOI requests.
He also called for more training of officials on records management, including freedom of information law and practice.
Premier Christy Clark said in a news release that her government would be “accepting all Mr. Loukidelis’ recommendations”, but the acceptance seems to lack a certain urgency.
As well, in a supplemental document, the Office of the Premier writes: “Government also agrees with Mr. Loukidelis’ recommendations to study and consider the establishment of duty to document which is currently under review by the Special Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (emphasis added).”
However this falls short of a commitment to impose penalties for improper destruction of records, which the Liberals eliminated only this year. As well, the government ought not to sit on its hands until the Committee presents its report—with the report due in May and a lack of clarity on whether the Legislature will have a fall sitting this year, it is entirely possible that the Committee recommendations would have to wait until 2017.
Commissioner Denham has stated that she intends to “follow-up on the outcomes of government’s commitments in the spring of 2016.” It will be interesting to see what progress will be made at that point.