British Columbians want action on privacy protection: Polling results

FIPA-sponsored poll shows BC wants key reforms to privacy laws  

VANCOUVER, June 4, 2020 – Polling results released today indicate that British Columbians want increased public education and enhanced protections to their privacy rights, among other key reforms to privacy laws.  

The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) commissioned an Ipsos poll, a leading independent market research company, on public opinion regarding BC’s private sector privacy laws. The questions posed will inform FIPA’s submission to the Special Legislative Committee reviewing BC’s Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA).  

A summary of poll questions and results are posted below. Tables of results can be found here.

The polling results indicate that British Columbians are concerned about the protection for their personal information. 56% of British Columbians either don’t know or feel the current laws and practices are insufficient to protect their personal information. 47% of respondents believe organizations are not open and transparent about how they collect and use personal information. 

In addition, 75% of British Columbians answered that they were concerned about an organization transferring their personal information from BC to organizations outside of Canada. 

Finally, awareness of privacy rights and protections is concerningly low with only 32% of British Columbians aware of PIPA, 31% aware of BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, 40% aware of the right to file a complaint relating to the handling of their personal information, 33% know that they can request access to their personal information from businesses, and 33% know nothing about these topics.  

British Columbians strongly support increasing public education about privacy, including a change in education curriculums. 75% of British Columbians believe that it is important to have a targeted curriculum for K-12 schools relating to privacy rights, with 78% answering the same for post-secondary students. 

“The results of this poll show that British Columbians are concerned about how their personal information is handled by organizations,” said FIPA Executive Director Jason Woywada. “We hope that these results will help inform the Special Legislative Committee and the BC Government’s actions to implement much-needed reforms to PIPA to provide British Columbians’ the degree of protection they deserve and expect.” 

Contact: 

Jason Woywada, Executive Director 
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association 
fipa@fipa.bc.ca | (o) 604-739-9788 


Background: 
Ipsos posed the following questions to 802 British Columbians on behalf of FIPA, and received the following responses: 

1. Existing laws and organizational practices provide sufficient protection of my personal information. 
Yes – 43% 
No – 28% 
Don’t know – 28% 

2. Organizations are open and transparent about how they collect and use my personal information. 
Yes – 33% 
No – 47% 
Don’t know – 20% 

3. How concerned are you about an organization transferring your personal information from BC to organizations outside of Canada? 
4- Very concerned – 34% 
3- 41 % 
2- 19%
1- Not concerned at all – 6% 

4.1. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Resources for individuals regarding personal information and privacy rights 
4 – Very important – 51%
3- 37%
2- 11% 
1- Not important at all – 1% 

4.2. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Resources for individuals learning about how to protect their personal information 
4- Very important – 53%
3- 34%
2- 12%
1-Not important at all – 1% 

4.3. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Resources for individuals on obtaining help, information, and advice related to privacy 
4- Very important – 47% 
3- 40% 
2- 12% 
1-Not important at all – 1% 

4.4. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Targeted curriculum for K-12 schools relating to privacy rights
4- Very important – 35% 
3- 40% 
2- 21%
1-Not important at all – 4% 

4.5. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Targeted curriculum for post-secondary schools relating to privacy rights 
4- Very important – 37% 
3 -40% 
2- 20% 
1-Not important at all – 3% 

5. Choose the statements that best reflect your knowledge of your privacy rights 
I am aware of BC’s Personal Information Protection Act – 32% 
I am aware of BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner – 31% 
I am aware that I can request access to my personal information from businesses – 33% 
I am aware of the right to file a complaint relating to the handling of my personal information – 40% 
None of these – 33% 

These responses, as well as breakdowns by gender, education, age group, region, income, and household composition, can be downloaded here. The Ipsos Factum can be found here.

The results are in! Poll shows BC wants a stronger FOI system

..And 97% think it is either “somewhat” or “very” important to have this duty to document. Find more images below.
..And 97% think it is either “somewhat” or “very” important to have this duty to document. Find more images below.

FIPA recently commissioned some public opinion polling on BC’s freedom of information system. We worked with Ipsos, a leading independent market research company, to develop and pose four questions related to some of our key recommendations to the Special Committee reviewing BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

A total of 803 people in BC shared their thoughts on duty to document, penalties for interfering with access rights, proactive disclosure, and a timeline for implementing key reforms. You can check out the full questions, answers, and results below.

It seems clear that British Columbians share FIPA’s position on the above issues in freedom of information law:

Poll results show that 97% of British Columbians believe it is important that government officials be legally required to keep accurate, complete records of what they do on the job.

Further, 85% think government officials who interfere with access to information rights should face penalties (with 12% stating they don’t know).

84% of respondents believe these reforms should be put into law before the next BC election.

On the topic of education subsidiaries, British Columbians were polled on their views on a loophole that leaves school boards, colleges and universities outside of BC’s Freedom of Information law. 87% of respondents said it was important that these education subsidiaries be covered by FOI laws.

We hope the Special Committee and the BC Government take heed of British Columbians’ views, and get to work implementing the recommended reforms as soon as possible.

We’re also glad that so many people were able to share their opinions on information rights – but we do still have a ways to go to ensure all British Columbians are informed about their access to information system. Help spread the word by sharing this post:

FIPAPoll_ByNextElection FIPAPoll_Penalties FIPAPoll_PublicInterest

Here are the full questions and their responses:

1. In your opinion, how important is it that provincial government officials are legally required to keep accurate and complete records of what they do on the job?

• Very important – 81%
• Somewhat important – 17%
• Not very important – 1%
• Not at all important – <1%
• Don’t know – 2%

2. BC’s information and privacy law currently does not have penalties for interfering with information access rights. Many other Canadian jurisdictions do have such penalties. Should government officials who interfere with access to information rights face penalties?

• Yes – 85%
• No – 3%
• Don’t know – 12%

3. BC’s information and privacy law currently covers subsidiaries of municipal governments, but not those of school boards, colleges and universities. This means these education subsidiaries are not subject to freedom of information requests. How important do you think it is that these education subsidiaries be covered by Freedom of Information laws?

• Very important – 53%
• Somewhat important – 33%
• Not very important – 4%
• Not at all important – 1%
• Don’t know – 8%

4. BC’s new provincial government has made a number of commitments about changes they would make to BC’s information and privacy law, but has yet to announce any new initiatives. How important do you think it is that the government bring in reforms to the information and privacy law before the next BC election?

• Very important – 47%
• Somewhat important – 38%
• Not very important – 7%
• Not at all important – 1%
• Don’t know – 8%

These responses, as well as breakdowns by gender, education, age group, region, income, and household composition, can be downloaded here. The Ipsos Factum can be found here.

UPDATE Election 2017: BC Party Leaders’ Responses to FIPA’s Election Questionnaire

 

This Just In: Liberals, NDP and Greens respond to FIPA’s election questionnaire.

Just in time for next week’s vote, we are pleased to reveal the responses we received from all three major parties to our election questionnaire.

This is the detailed statement of positions on information, privacy, and other issues that have not had much exposure in the leaders debate or in the parties’ main platforms.

If FOI and privacy are important to you in choosing who to vote for, check out what the parties themselves have said, in their own words. We have also prepared a concise summary of what each is promising.

We thank all three parties for taking the time to set out what appear to be carefully considered responses to these important questions.

To see our questions, click here.

Click here to see the BC Liberals’ response.

Click here to see the BC NDP’s response.

Click here to see the BC Green Party’s response.

Election 2017: FIPA asks BC party leaders for positions on Freedom of Information issues

With the provincial election campaign underway, we believe it is important to know where the leaders of BC’s three leading political parties stand on important Freedom of Information and privacy issues. Like we have done during previous elections, FIPA sent a series of questions on Freedom of Information and privacy issues to the BC Liberals, BC NDP, and the BC Green Party last week.

With the three parties’ platforms revealed, there remains much to be said regarding these issues. We look forward to reading the leaders’ responses come May 1st.