FIPPA Section 68 is clear: the Minister is to table an Annual Report on FIPPA before the Legislative Assembly as soon as possible. This Government has failed to do so since 2019. It is simply not believable that the Ministers’ earliest opportunity to table a 2019/2020 Annual Report on FIPPA is the spring of 2022, particularly because they just introduced amendments to the legislation and have tabled other Annual Reports.
Following appropriate process, we sent a request for investigation to the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner on November 26th 2021, at the end of the last session. It has been acknowledged with confirmation that this Government has an obligation that is not currently being met under the Act. The Commissioner’s office is empowered under FIPPA s.42(1)(a) to investigate and could issue an order to the Minister under 58(3).
As it currently stands, the lack of compliance creates the immediate possibility for a point of parliamentary privilege that can be raised by members of the legislature if and when a report is finally tabled.
The discouraging impact is that the Cabinet continues to undermine its credibility by being derelict in its compliance requirements set out in legislation. It is particularly frustrating when civil society and the public face repercussions for not complying with legislation but the Ministers can disregard it to advance their own political ploys and hide what is happening. A comprehensive report on the administration of the FIPPA should have informed the Fall 2021 debate over Bill 22. An up-to-date report would also be invaluable for individuals and groups preparing submissions to the current Special Legislative Committee.
We anticipate at some point in this session, Minister Beare will table a FIPPA Annual Report. Her efforts to withhold the information from the public while introducing legislative amendments are noted and reduce our trust in her actions and her ability to meet commitments from the election or in her mandate letter.