This page is a growing inventory of “No Responsive Records” replies received following FOI requests made to the BC Government. Have you received a similar response? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to add your case to our page.
Requests made by FIPA
- BC Government claims it has no records related to Carney speech about Vancouver real estate market
FIPA filed a FOI request to the BC Ministry of Finance for records on then-Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney’s speech on the Vancouver real estate market in June 2011. According to the BC Ministry of Finance, they claim to have no documents related to this major speech given to the Vancouver Board of Trade. FIPA filed a complaint with the OIPC on January 18, 2017.
- Conference call between the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services and the Office of the US Trade Representative
FIPA obtained internal US Trade Representative (USTR) documents through the American Freedom of Information Act showing that major US companies have complained to the USTR about BC’s requirement that government and other public sector data be stored in Canada. The documents also showed a call scheduled between senior USTR officials and the Ministry of Citizens’ Services in February 2012 to discuss the issue. FIPA made a request to the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services for all correspondence, briefing notes and background documents related to a conference call on February 13, 2012 between the Ministry and the Office of the US Trade Representative. The response from the Ministry claimed that: “Although a thorough search was conducted, no records were located in response to your request.” Read the complete response from the Ministry here. After a complaint and investigation by the Commissioner, the Ministry eventually found and released a single calendar entry for the call but nothing else.
- Burnaby Hospital Community Consultation Committee
A Vancouver Sun article disclosed that emails were leaked to the New Democratic Party surrounding the Burnaby Hospital Community Consultation Committee. The leaked emails indicated political interference on the part of the BC Liberals and suggested the consultations could be used to secure votes. FIPA filed an FOI request for “copies of all correspondence including but not limited to emails, phone records, BBM messages, etc., from April 1, 2012 to present between the former Minister of Health, the Hon. Michael de Jong, the current Minister, the Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid and their offices, and the Burnaby Hospital Community Consultation Committee or any members thereof […] which took place through private or non-Ministry services (eg. Gmail, Hotmail, etc.).” The information we obtained from the Ministry of Health failed to provide any records of these leaked communications. We asked the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) to investigate. The OIPC was told by the Ministry that “given the description of the specific record requested (the record referred to in the Vancouver Sun article), it is likely that if that record had been contained in the offices files that it would have been considered transitory and disposed of accordingly.”CHECK THE QUOTE
- First Ministers’ Meeting on the HST
In 2009, both FIPA and the province’s Official Opposition made requests for records of government discussions concerning the creation of a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in BC during a specific time period that included a First Ministers’ Meeting. Extensive briefing binders are usually prepared for issues that may arise during intergovernmental meetings. FIPA received a “no responsive records” response from the Office of the Premier, and the NDP obtained the same response from the Ministry of Finance. It was later revealed that various media outlets who had also made requests received HST-related documents, including briefing notes for the First Ministers’ Meeting. FIPA filed a request for an investigation to the OIPC. The OIPC found that the Office of the Premier had “fulfilled its duty under s. 6(1) to make every reasonable effort to respond completely” and promptly closed the file.
Requests made by others
- Highway of Tears
On May 18, 2015, former Executive Assistant to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Tim Duncan wrote a letter to BC Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham alleging that he was ordered to destroy documents related to an FOI request concerning meetings surrounding missing women on the Highway of Tears. The Commissioner is conducting an investigation into the allegations.
- Mingay review of Kwantlen Polytechnic
The NDP filed an FOI for all documents and e-mails sent by the Minister of Citizens’ Services top political adviser, Nick Facey, during a 12-day period in June 2014. At the time, the Minister was being investigated by Assistant Deputy Finance Minister Rob Mingay for his role on the board of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University, which had made payments to college executives that were found to contravene compensation disclosure guidelines. The NDP received a “no records” response. The government then refrained from posting Mingay’s report on its website, citing Section 30.1 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
- Records sent by Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills with instructions to mark records, emails or documents as “transitory”
An FOI was posted on the BC Government Open Government website requesting: “Any and all records sent by Christine Little [Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training (Labour)] to staff directing, instructing or requesting that staff delete emails or destroy records or documents or mark records, emails or documents transitory. Timeframe is January 1, 2011 to March 25, 2013.” The response included the following quote from Christine Little, Executive Director, Strategy, Policy and Performance International Trade and Investment Attraction Division Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation: “In the meantime please delete all drafts of the materials and e‐mail correspondence should be treated as transitory.”
- Meeting between BC Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford
In 2013, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford met to announce a framework for energy projects between the two provinces. An FOI request filed by a reporter asking for documents prepared for Clark before or after the meeting, including briefing notes and minutes, contained the following response: “Although a thorough search was conducted, no records were located in response to your request.”
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC’s report on the increase in No Responsive Records to General Access to Information Requests: Government of British Columbia