FIPA has won yet again in our eight-year fight for the release of the BC Government’s Workplace Services contract with IBM.
The BC Supreme Court today rejected all the BC government’s arguments opposing the release of the remaining details of the $300 million contract, which expires in 2014. The government was arguing that section 15 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) allows them to refuse to release dozens of pages of the contract.
The decision comes after years of costly delay on the Government’s behalf. Not including this latest Supreme Court case, the government’s efforts to withhold the contract–on the basis that its details could compromise the security of its computing systems–has cost BC taxpayers approximately $125,000.
The Court’s ruling is a major victory in this long fight for the disclosure of information pertaining to the spending of public dollars, but it is only one step. FIPA has managed to post the redacted version of the IBM contract on our website, but the government keeps coming up with excuses to avoid doing the same. Commissioner Elizabeth Denham and FIPA have both been calling for routine posting of government contracts.
The BC Government now has 30 days to release the records, or appeal the decision with the BC Court of Appeal. We’ll be keeping tabs on this process and will keep our members and subscribers up to date as it develops.
The full text of the ruling can be accessed by clicking here.