It was a busy Right To Know Week for the FIPA team. In addition to our day-to-day work pushing for a stronger access to information system, we spent this week going out into the world to spread the good word about FOI.
First, we hosted FOI 101, an introductory workshop on filing freedom of information requests. The workshop—led by access expert Mike Larson, a Professor of Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and head researcher for our popular educational resource, Access in the Academy—taught participants the basic practical skills needed to tackle FOI projects, and gave tips, strategies, and answered questions about FOI difficulties.
We were heartened to see so much interest in the workshop, and we look forward to hosting it again in the coming years! Thank you to all who expressed interest and to those who joined us.
In the afternoon following FOI 101, FIPA Executive Director Vincent Gogolek headed to North Vancouver to participate in a panel discussion about a new book on the controversial Bill C-51, titled False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-terrorism. Authors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach joined the panel via Skype to speak directly about their findings. Alongside representatives from the BC Civil Liberties Association and OpenMedia, Mike Larsen, and moderator Michael Markwick of Capilano University, FIPA asked questions about the information and privacy implications of Bill C-51, and shared thoughts on the book with attendees.
Later in the week, FIPA set up at the Vancouver Public Library for National Seniors’ Day, and discussed access and privacy issues with seniors, caretakers, and other interested visitors. The event also featured an all-candidates meeting for the riding of Vancouver-Centre, where FIPA asked MP candidates from the Liberal, Conservative, New Democratic, and Green parties about their stances on access to information reform.
All in all, it was a very successful and informative Right To Know Week. We met some amazing, interesting new people interested in information and privacy, had a chance to connect in-person with existing members of the FIPA community, and were proud to be a part of intelligent discourse about some of the most pressing issues in BC and Canada.