Bill 22 is a failure.
We suspected it might be bad. On review it is worse than anyone expected.
“We started to compile pluses and minuses,” says FIPA (Freedom of Information and Privacy Association) Executive Director Jason Woywada. “The problem is there are so few positives and so many serious minuses we needed to take immediate action.”
FIPA and others see this government abandoning prior commitments to improve government accountability and eroding the democratic process by making it harder for everyone – concerned citizens, experienced researchers, and regular people – to get the facts rather than spin. In response, FIPA has launched Transparency Matters. It includes: A call to action, Coalition Statement, Pluses and Minuses and a Backgrounder.
Bill 22 would see substantive changes made to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) for the first time in a generation. Unfortunately, if passed, this Bill will undermine access to information and make public bodies less transparent. It is a step backwards for openness and accountability, and a missed opportunity to protect the privacy and improve the information rights of British Columbians.
This legislation would extend the ability of current and future governments to keep people in the dark about vital matters of public interest. Its introduction at this time short-circuits the work of the special legislative committee responsible for reviewing FIPPA, preventing meaningful public consultation. If passed, it would immediately put up more barriers for people seeking access to information.
We recognize this majority government can readily pass this regressive Bill quickly. If that happens, it will impact the citizens of British Columbia now, haunt us into the future, and set a dangerous precedent across Canada.
Bill 22 opens the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act for substantive changes for the first time in over a decade. Unfortunately, if passed, this Bill will undermine access to information and make public bodies less transparent. It is a step backwards for openness and accountability, and a missed opportunity to improve the information rights of British Columbians.