BC Government claims it has no records related to Mark Carney speech about Vancouver real estate market

NEWS RELEASE
JANUARY 19, 2017

 

BC government claims it has no records related to Carney speech about Vancouver real estate market

 FIPA asks Information Commissioner to investigate

Yet another incredible ‘no responsive records’ response to a FIPA FOI request

FIPA has filed a complaint with the Acting BC Information and Privacy Commissioner after the BC Ministry of Finance claimed it has no documents whatsoever related to a major speech in 2011 at the Vancouver Board of Trade by then-Bank of Canada head Mark Carney.

The speech dealt with Vancouver real estate and foreign investors. At one point Carney stated that Asian investors seeking diversification and hard assets have “become a familiar phenomenon in this city.”  He went on to describe the Vancouver market as “…taking on characteristics of financial asset markets.”

FIPA’s FOI request to the BC Ministry of Finance was for:

Copies of all correspondence including but not limited to emails, phone records, BBM messages etc. as well as all briefing notes, analysis and background documents prepared by or forwarded to the Ministry related to a speech given by then Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney to the Vancouver Board of Trade in June 2011 regarding the housing market in Canada.

Of course this is not the first time that a FOI request to the BC government has come up with nothing where it would be reasonable to expect extensive documentation.

In the wake of the triple delete scandal and recommendations from the BC Information and Privacy Commissioner, FIPA and many others, a Special Legislative Committee recommended the creation of a legislative “duty to document” to ensure that government records are created and maintained. The BC government has so far failed to bring in any of the Committee’s recommendations.

An Ipsos poll commissioned by FIPA last year showed that 78% of British Columbians believe it is very important that government implement a duty to document.

See our press release here for more information.

Complaint to OIPC re: No responsive records for Mark Carney speech about Vancouver real estate market

On January 18, 2017 FIPA filed a complaint with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC relating to the BC Ministry of Finance’s failure to locate and provide records on Mark Carney’s speech on Vancouver’s real estate market in 2011.

The Ministry’s response was due January 10, 2017, but it was delayed until January 16, 2017.

Download the complaint here.

Cost of RCMP ‘Project Souvenir’ (BC Leg Bombing)

Here are the documents we received from the RCMP in response to our ATI request for:

“Records outlining the total cost to date of the investigation into the activities of John
Nuttall and Amanda Korody related to the attempted bombing of the BC Legislature on
July 1, 2013, including the number of officers involved in the investigation and total
amount of overtime paid, total costs of goods and services supplies to the two accused
and all communications (emails, BBMs, memos, etc.) related to the approval of expenses
in this case.”

We have filed a complaint and an investigation is underway by the Officer of the Information Commissioner of Canada. We will post any additional records that we receive.

https://fipa.bc.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/RCMP-Leg-bombing-Response-letter-1.pdf

https://fipa.bc.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/RCMP-Leg-bombing-A-2015-03996-Release-package-1.pdf

NEWS RELEASE: BC Government ordered to re-examine Mt. Polley information

Information Commissioner says other ministries should also look for information that must be released in public interest

VANCOUVER, July 2, 2015 – In a major report released this morning, Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has gone beyond simply telling the BC Government to re-examine its files for information to be released surrounding the Mount Polley tailings pond collapse. The Commissioner has made a major reinterpretation of the law dealing with release of information in the public interest without a Freedom of Information request.

Commissioner Denham has told the government to have all other departments to look through their files for information that must be released under a new interpretation of Section 25(1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

Section 25 of FIPPA requires a public body to release information “without delay” without a FOI request where there is “…a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people”, or that is “for any other reason, clearly in the public interest.”

According to the Commissioner’s new interpretation, the element of urgency implied by the words “without delay” applies to the release of information by the public body. In other words, information that is clearly in the public interest must be released “without delay.”

“The Commissioner’s decision will have far-reaching positive effects for the public’s right to know,” said FIPA Executive Director Vincent Gogolek. “It will be very interesting to see what else the BC government is required to release under this improved interpretation of the duty to release information in the public interest.”

BC FIPA filed a complaint in 2014 with the BC Commissioner last summer over the BC government’s failure to release information in its possession about the collapsed Mt. Polley tailings pond. The complaint set off the Commissioner’s investigation. The Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Victoria also filed a complaint.

Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham had released a report in 2013, following another complaint by BC FIPA and the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Victoria, on the same section of FIPPA. In her 2013 report, the Commissioner had also recommended the BC government amend the law to remove the ‘urgency’ requirement.

“We are glad to see the Commissioner using her powers to bring about the improvements to the public’s right to know,” said Gogolek, “especially since the government didn’t see fit to make the changes she recommended 18 months ago.”

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Contact:

Vincent Gogolek, Executive Director

BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

Email: Vincent (at) fipa.bc.ca

Phone: 604-739-9788

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