Submission on the Reform of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act Consultation

BC FIPA has made submission to the Minister of Management Services, the Hon. Sandy Santori, regarding the ongoing process of reform of BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA” or “the Act”).

Our submission comments on the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, 2002; our recommendations for additional amendments to the Act this fall; and, our suggestions for action on other issues affecting freedom of information and privacy that we hope will be on the agenda this fall.

Read the full submission (pdf).

BC FIPA letter to Senate Committee regarding Bill C-27 and quasi-governmental bodies – 17 May 2002

BC FIPA has sent a letter to Senator Nicholas W. Taylor, Chair of the Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources regarding the creation of a quasi-governmental body if Bill C-27 is enacted.

BC FIPA is concerned that this body has significant power over decisions that affect the public, responsibility for enormous spending decisions, and as currently defined would be fundamentally unaccountable to Parliament or to the Canadian public. BC FIPA urges the Committee to propose an amendment to Bill C-27 that would extend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act to the Waste Management Organization.

BC FIPA believes that democracy is both degraded and diminished when large sectors of government authority are placed beyond the accountability and openness measures of these Acts.

Read the full letter (doc).

BC FIPA publishes “Personal Health Information and the Right to Privacy in Canada: An overview of statutory, common law, voluntary and constitutional privacy protection”

BC FIPA has released “Personal Health Information and the Right to Privacy in Canada: An overview of statutory, common law, voluntary and constitutional privacy protection”, a law reform report prepared by Susan Prosser of the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BCPIAC).

The report outlines the gaps in protection in existing provincial privacy laws, the disparity in sources of privacy law and privacy policy, and the divergent interests of those involved in the administration of Canada’s healthcare system.

Confidentiality and informed consent form the backbone of the medical system. As Bruce Phillips, the federal Privacy Commissioner, argued in his 1996-97 Annual Report, “an individual’s right to control the disclosure of personal medical information should be paramount. That right should be overruled only in the face of an overwhelming and compelling public interest (or to provide the patient emergency care).”

If the federal and provincial governments fail to pass legislation which protects individuals’ rights to privacy, it will be up to the courts to decide under what circumstances individuals have a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy and whether legislation that permits either use or disclosure to third parties without consent passes constitutional muster.

Download the report (pdf).