Liberals try bureaucratic shuffle to meet criticism on information response
By Vaughn Palmer
(link to full column below)
The B.C. Liberals are moving to centralize all incoming requests under the provincial information law, saying it is an attempt to address chronic complaints about government failure to respond in a timely fashion.
The edict went out this week via e-mail from Jessica McDonald, deputy minister to the premier. “Effective immediately,” specialized information and privacy staff — about 150 public servants in all, with a budget in the $10-million range — will be centralized in a single unit in the ministry of labour and citizens’ services.
“The organizational change is being made to improve performance in responding to requests made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA),” said the follow-up note from Lori Wanamaker, the line deputy minister. “I am optimistic that we will see process improvements very quickly.”
If there were to be any improvement, it would be after repeated criticisms of the government performance in responding to requests from citizens, interest groups, journalists and others.
The B.C. Liberal government was recently ranked “second worst in Canada,” in an audit of information responses by the Canadian Newspaper Association.