Victoria, November 16, 2021 – Polling results released today indicate that several proposed changes introduced in Bill 22 are not supported by British Columbians.
“The results of this poll show that British Columbians neither agree nor support two of the largest changes in Bill 22” said BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) Executive Director Jason Woywada. “I remain optimistic that the Minister will do the right thing and defer to the Special Legislative Committee rather than ram through legislation that is so clearly out of step with public onion.”
FIPA commissioned an IPSOS poll, a leading independent market research company, on public opinion regarding several issues. These included general trust in government transparency, proposed changes in Bill 22, areas of application of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act (FIPPA) and general awareness of FIPPA, BC’s Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA), and familiarity with BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner and their role.
A bright spot for government in general is 65% of people feel they have access to the information that they need to trust the decisions made by governments in British Columbia.
Respondents across the province categorically disagreed with and opposed two specific changes proposed in Bill 22. 61% oppose requiring people to pay a fee to file an FOI (Freedom of Information) request for information. 73% oppose government bodies storing their personal information outside of Canada.
It is also a widely held belief that the Premier’s Office (77%), the Legislative Assembly (77%), corporations owned or controlled by public bodies (74%), municipal governments (80%), and police departments (86%) should all be subject to FOI requests.
FIPA also strove to create an understanding of the baseline level of awareness with a series of questions that can be asked year over year. Across the province, 36% are familiar with FIPPA while 28% are familiar with how to request access to personal information and general information from public bodies. 33% are familiar with PIPA while 25% are familiar with how to request access to personal information from private bodies. 27% are familiar with BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner and 23% are familiar with the process to file a complaint relating to the handling of their personal information.
These are the findings of an Ipsos online poll of 802 adult British Columbians conducted November 5-12, 2021, on behalf of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA). These data were statistically weighted by region, age, gender, and education to ensure the sample composition reflects that of the actual BC population according to Census data. The precision of Ipsos polls containing online data is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the overall poll is accurate to within +/ -3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all adult BC residents been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
IPSOS posed the following questions to 802 British Columbians on behalf of FIPA, and received the following responses:
1. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: People have access to the information that they need to trust the decisions made by governments in British Columbia.
Top 2 Box (Net) 65%, Strongly agree 19%, Somewhat agree 46%
Bottom 2 Box (Net) 30%, Somewhat disagree 21%, Strongly disagree 9%
Don’t know 5%,
2. Currently members of the public are not required to pay a fee to file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for general records held by public bodies in British Columbia (e.g., a provincial Ministry or City Hall). New legislation would introduce a mandatory filing fee. Do you support or oppose requiring people to pay a fee to file a FOI request for information?
Top 2 Box (Net) 25%, Strongly support 6%, Somewhat support 19%
Bottom 2 Box (Net) 61%, Somewhat oppose 23%, Strongly oppose 38%
Don’t know 13%,
3. Government bodies in BC are legally required to store your personal information in Canada. New legislation would end this requirement. Do you support or oppose government bodies storing your personal information outside of Canada?
Top 2 Box (Net) 19% Strongly support, 5% Somewhat support 14%
Bottom 2 Box (Net) 73% Somewhat oppose 21% Strongly oppose 52%
Don’t know 8%
4. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act allows people to file FOI requests for records held by many public bodies in British Columbia. In your opinion, how important is it for each of the following to be subject to FOI requests?
The Office of the Premier
Important 77%, Not Important 13%, Don’t Know 11%
The Offices of the Legislative Assembly
Important 77%, Not Important 12%, Don’t Know 11%
Any Corporation owned or controlled by a public body
Important 74%, Not Important 16%, Don’t Know 10%
A municipal government
Important 80%, Not Important 11%, Don’t Know 9%
A police department
Important 86%, Not Important 7%, Don’t Know 7%
5. How would you describe your level of familiarity with each of the following:
BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Familiar 36%, Not Familiar 64%
How to request access to my personal information and general information from public bodies
Familiar 28%, Not Familiar 72%
BC’s Personal Information Protection Act
Familiar 33%, Not Familiar 67%
How to request access to my personal information from private bodies
Familiar 25%, Not Familiar 75%
BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner
Familiar 27%, Not Familiar 73%
The process to file a complaint relating to the handling of my personal information
Familiar 23%, Not Familiar 77%
These responses, as well as breakdowns by gender, education, age group, region, income, and household composition, can be downloaded here.