David Loukidelis re-appointed as BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner

BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, David Loukidelis, has been appointed for a second six-year term. Members of a Special Committee of the Legislature unanimously recommended that the House reappoint Loukidelis.

“During his tenure as Commissioner, David Loukidelis has earned a well-deserved reputation as an effective advocate for the access to information and privacy rights of British Columbians,” said Committee Chair, John Rustad, MLA. We are pleased to recommend that his balanced oversight continue for another six years.”

In its deliberations, members of the Committee considered it appropriate to interview Mr. Loukidelis before deciding whether or not to undertake an open competition. As a result of their interview and their assessment of the Commissioner’s performance during his first term, it was clear to the Committee that a further search was unlikely to result in a more accomplished applicant.

David Loukidelis was a founding member of the BC Freedom of Information & Privacy Association (FIPA) and was its President for several years.

A September 2005 amendment to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act removed a provision limiting a Commissioner to serving only one six-year term. The amendment brought the Act into line with the statutes governing the other statutory officers in British Columbia, as well as those governing Information and Privacy Commissioners in other jurisdictions.

Read the Committee’s report

FIPA report calls for rethink of Anti-terrorism Act

FIPA has submitted a paper to the House of Commons Subcommittee on Public Safety and National Security, which is currently reviewing Canada’s Anti-terrorism Act. Entitled “Canada’s Anti-terrorism Act: an unjustified limitation of freedom of information and privacy rights”, the report calls for the rollback of changes wrought by the Act.

In FIPA’s view, the tragic events of September 11 have been used as a pretext for an expansion of police power and surveillance practices heretofore unacceptable to the vast majority of Canadians.

The report states that “The ATA was unnecessary at its conception and remains so today, not only because it is based on the false belief that civil rights must be traded for security, but also because the police powers and surveillance capabilities necessary to fight terrorism already existed before 9/11.”

Download the new FIPA report.

Parliamentary review of Canada’s Anti-terrorism Act begins

The Canadian Parliament’s Subcommittee on Public Safety and National Security began a review of Canada’s Anti-terrorism Act on December 16, 2004.

The Subcommittee will be accepting written submissions and holding public hearings during winter and spring 2005, with a view to tabling a report in the House of Commons in autumn of the same year. The Subcommittee is hoping to hear from as many groups as it can during the upcoming hearings.

A special committee of the Senate is also conducting “a comprehensive review of the provisions and operations of the Anti-terrorism Act.”

The Anti-terrorism Act and other legislation passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks placed far-reaching powers in the hands of police, security intelligence agencies, customs and immigration officials, and other authorities. These new powers were introduced with little public awareness of their impact on civil liberties, privacy, and access to government information.

The Parliamentary review is vital to an informed public debate and assessment of the legislation and its impacts, which critics say has undermined our democratic traditions but done little to make most Canadians safer.

Those interested in appearing before the Committee are invited to submit their request in writing to the Subcommittee Clerk by February 11, 2005. Written submissions may be submitted to the Clerk no later than February 28, 2005.

Information about procedures for making presentations or submitting papers.
Links of Interest

Remarks of the Minister of Justice to the Special Committee of the Senate on the Anti-terrorism Act, February 21, 2005

CANADA’S ANTI-TERRORISM ACT: AN UNJUSTIFIED LIMITATION OF FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PRIVACY RIGHTS – Submission to the House of Commons Subcommittee on Public Safety and National Security– BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, March 2005:

SUBMISSION BY ONTARIO INFORMATION AND PRIVACY COMMISSIONER

WAR ON TERRORISM WATCH
This site, developed and hosted by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), shines a light on the growing list of similar measures governments in Canada, the United States, and Europe have taken in the name of the “war on terrorism.” It aims to encourage informed debate and discussion by providing the latest information and analysis available

PRIVATE NO MORE
Chris Cobb
Ottawa Citizen
December 16, 2004
Terrorism and technology are exacting a high price from Canadians, undermining privacy and eroding civil liberties to a degree that most of us don’t realize. Few Canadians understand the degree to which our most personal information is now readily available to the FBI, CIA and other U.S. authorities – not to mention our own law enforcement equivalents.
Worse, say critics, federal security legislation and cross-border agreements rushed through with little debate or public discussion have undermined our democratic traditions but done little to make most Canadians safer.

Read the full article

Patriot Act poses greater risks than province states, says BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner

Lindsay Kines and Jeff Rud
Times Colonist

The USA Patriot Act poses a greater risk to Canadians’ personal information than earlier stated by the B.C. government, the province’s information and privacy commissioner said Friday.

David Loukidelis praised government for toughening B.C.’s privacy law, but said it needs to go further to prevent the FBI from using the Patriot Act to get its hands on British Columbians’ private medical or pharmaceutical information…

Darrell Evans, executive director of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, called for a moratorium on contracting out government work to U.S.-linked companies until the B.C. and Canadian governments act on all 16 of Loukidelis’s recommendations.

“If all of these recommendations are implemented, it will provide an effective barrier to foreign laws,” he said. “But they’re like a piece and they’d all have to be implemented to be effective. Until then, we just don’t think the extra risk should be taken.”

LIST OF THE COMMISSIONER’S RECOMMENDATIONS, showing which have / have not been implemeted by the BC government

Complete Times-Colonist article

Information and Privacy Commissioner’s news release and report (See “What’s New”): http://www.oipcbc.org/

“Is Government Outsourcing a Threat to Privacy?” — FIPA submission to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC

Privacy Commissioner of Canada News Release:
The Privacy Commissioner commends the BC Information and Privacy Commissioner for furthering public debate on sharing of personal information about Canadians across borders
Right to Privacy Campaign

FIPA and a growing list of other groups– including some municipalities – are seeking to prevent the BC government from contracting out the administration of government services to foreign-owned corporations when it could violate the privacy rights of Canadian citizens.

Campaign website