Two environmental groups say they won a six-year battle over access to documents on sea lice, only to have the government change the rules and refuse the information for their next request.
In 2004, Ecojustice and the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation requested sea lice infestation information from 2002 and 2003 but the government wouldn’t release the documents until B.C.’s privacy commissioner ordered it to do so.
When the groups asked for the exact same records for the period between January 2004 and March 2010, the government again refused to release the information, but this time it used different grounds for denial.
David Lane, executive director at the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation, said Tuesday the government shouldn’t be able to bring up different excuses every time they ask for information.
In the first refusal the government relied on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act, arguing the release of the information would cause harm to third-party interests. The latest denial comes under Section 17 of the Act, which gives a long list of reasons for refusing, including that releasing the information could mean revealing trade secrets from the government.