FIPA sent a letter on May 4 to the Leaders of BC’s three leading political parties, asking them to clearly state their positions on a wide range of issues concerning freedom of information. We are deeply concerned with the 10-year decline in access to government information that has occurred under the last NDP and current Liberal administrations.
Update: Responses from the three party leaders have now been received:
BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) was passed in 1992. In recent years, there has been a serious decline in the health of the FOI process, resulting in increasing barriers to timely access to information for many citizens. These problems began with severe budget cuts to FOI administration under the last NDP administration, but have continued and even increased under the Liberal administration.
The problems mainly concern access to general (that is, non-personal) information. FIPA’s research shows that delays and fee assessments for FOI requests have risen sharply, and that the functionality of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is badly impaired following cuts to its budget of 35 percent.
In addition, a number of serious deficiencies in the FOIPPA have become apparent over the years and the Act is overdue for reform and updating. The need for FOI reform has been recognized and called for by FIPA, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and two Special Committees of the Legislature.