The BC FOI News Story Index

Vancouver, September 26, 2019 – As part of Right to Know Week 2019, Independent journalist Stanley Tromp has published the BC Freedom of Information (FOI) News Story Index. The new resource, which received support from the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, is a database that documents significant news items produced using BC’s FOI laws since they came into force in 1993.

The resource includes more than 1,900 news items based on government records obtained using BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (and other FOI laws), including items featured in newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television. They are all part of the new Excel database that Mr. Tromp has separated into 24 searchable categories.

“This resource represents a huge step in demonstrating the importance of BC’s freedom of information laws,” says Sara Neuert, the Executive Director of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. “It shows how the legislation has been used in the public interest for almost 30 years, and helps to put in perspective what we’re at risk of losing without law reform.”

The BC FOI News Story Index will be a useful reference for students of journalism, FOI applicants and appellants, media lawyers, special interest groups, historians, and anyone interested in using freedom of information laws in order to exercise their right to know.

As the database demonstrates, BC’s freedom of information laws have been instrumental in breaking some of the most important stories since 1993. This new resource highlights the importance of the laws in more detail than ever before. Tromp provides a thorough introduction to the Index that emphasizes the public interest value of FOI, makes the case for reforming BC’s FOI law, and provides inspiration and encouragement for aspiring accountability journalists.

The BC FOI News Story Index also received support from Tom Crean.

The BC FOI News Story Index is available on Tromp’s website: http://www3.telus.net/index100/intro2019

Contact:

Sara Neuert, Executive Director

BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

Email: fipa (at) fipa.bc.ca

Phone: 604-739-9788

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Best Practices in Whistleblower Legislation: An Analysis of Federal and Provincial Legislation Relevant to Disclosures of Wrongdoing in British Columbia

Best Practices in Whistleblower Legislation, prepared by Carroll Anne Boydell, instructor of criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University on behalf of the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, compares BC’s new whistleblower legislation, the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), to international best practices standards.

Best practice principles exist for laws, regulations, and procedures aimed at the protection of those who report wrongdoing. The purpose of this paper is to examine selected legislation containing whistleblower protections that are relevant to those who disclose wrongdoing in British Columbia to determine how well they follow best practice principles. Several best practice principles were reflected in the legislation reviewed, and the introduction of the new Public Interest Disclosure Act in British Columbia is a positive development in the protection of whistleblowers who are employees of the provincial government.

However, not all best practice principles are enshrined in the laws examined here. For example, there are still types of whistleblowers that do not have adequate protections, such as private sector workers and those in the public sector who are not employed by a provincial ministry, government body, or office. In addition, though types of protected disclosures have been expanded under the PIDA, there are still some disclosures of wrongdoing that may remain unprotected, such as interference with freedom of information requests. Some issues were also found related to transparency of decisions made about investigations into disclosures of wrongdoing and complaints of reprisal against whistleblowers, as well as about the accountability of government agencies in protecting whistleblowers. Therefore, some refinements and amendments to whistleblower laws and disclosure management procedures are needed to ensure that adequate protections are afforded to those who disclose wrongdoing in British Columbia.

Download the resource.

For more than twenty years, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association has relied on the support of our community to provide resources, educational programming, and one-on-one advice. By making a contribution to the Association in exchange for this resource, you’re helping us provide another two decades of service to Canadians and supporting more publications like this in the future. There is no minimum donation amount. Every bit helps.

Click here to make a donation. We hope you consider supporting the Associations.

Let us know what you think: If you have comments, questions, or concerns about the report, please send them to FIPA at fipa@fipa.bc.ca or tweet to us @BCFIPA.