Annual General Meeting 2020

Register now to join us online!

President’s memo to members.

Join us at BC FIPA’s 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM)! We will be presenting the highlights from our work over the previous year, and discuss key priorities for the upcoming months, in addition to conducting regular AGM business. FIPA President, Mike Larsen, has outlined some of our milestones in a quick report to our members and supporters.

This is your chance to hear about our work, elect BC FIPA board members, and talk about some of this year’s most important freedom of information and privacy issues.

With this year’s AGM going virtual, the AGM package of materials will be distributed via email the day of the event. If you would prefer to receive a hard copy of the AGM package, please specify in your RSVP. Hard copies will only be mailed to those who request them ahead of time.

When: Thursday, June 25, 2020 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
Where: Virtually, via Microsoft Teams or by phone.
Details will be provided after registration.

Be sure that your membership is up to date so that you can vote at the meeting!
To check the status of your membership, to renew, or join FIPA, send an email to with your full name and email. You can also renew your membership online at

Membership rates will be increasing after the AGM so renew now!
To learn more, click here.

Please RSVP by replying to this message, by sending an email to or by calling the office at 604-739-9788. Please complete and submit this form if you intend to send a proxy to the AGM.

NEWS RELEASE: Civil society groups’ joint statement – Too early to launch contact tracing apps

BC FIPA, CCLA, BCCLA, CIPPIC, ICLMG, and OpenMedia are calling for more research and analysis prior to the release of new federally approved contact tracing app

VANCOUVER, June 24, 2020 – On June 18, 2020 the federal government announced that a contact tracing app, “COVID Alert” will be available for Ontarians in July. The app will be in its testing phase, though the nature of testing remains unclear.

BC FIPA, in collaboration with CCLA, BCCLA, CIPPIC, ICLMG, and OpenMedia have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister and First Ministers regarding serious concerns with the application’s implementation and operation at a regional and national level.

The federal Privacy Commissioner’s office has not yet received the necessary information and access to the application in order to analyze and provide recommendations on it, nor has a Privacy Impact Assessment been completed or submitted to that office for review. It is highly concerning that a deployment date has been publicly announced before the federal Privacy Commissioner has been given the opportunity to comprehensively review the application and its privacy impacts.

We call on the federal government to provide the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and their provincial and territorial counterparts with the time necessary to fully analyze the application and release an assessment before the application is released to the public. In addition, prior to release, the privacy policy for the application must be clear, detailed, and understandable so users can provide informed and meaningful consent, as well as understand their privacy rights and protections. Lastly, all elements of the application’s source code must be released to the public so that the privacy and security of the initiative can be assessed.

In today’s digital age, if a contact tracing application is to earn the trust of Canadians, then privacy must be of paramount importance. We feel that the government’s current actions fall short. For this reason, we, the undersigned, are calling on the government to meet the following principles before the application is made publicly available. Details on our joint letter can be found here.

Jason Woywada, Executive Director
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
(e) | (p) 604-739-9788

News Release: Time to reform BC’s privacy laws

BC FIPA recommends key changes to BC’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA)

VANCOUVER, June 10, 2020 – During the Special Committee’s public consultations to review PIPA, BC Freedom of Information and Privacy (FIPA) presented several key recommendations. 

Details of our presentation found here.

Compared to other provincial and the federal privacy legislation, BC’s PIPA has had no substantive amendments in the last 17 years. Presently, more than ever, personal information is being collected and stored in exponential amounts, subject to advanced analytics, and highly prone to being compromised. Changes to PIPA are needed for two main reasons – citizens expect increased privacy protections and education, and BC’s economy faces a real risk if the province’s privacy protections are inadequate to international data protection standards. 

Our submission proposes several recommendations, many of which have been called for in previous legislative reviews. We are calling for mandatory data breach reporting, algorithmic transparency, as well as an increase in the following: transparency and accountability by organizations, protections during international transfers of personal information, Commissioner’s enforcement powers, and resources for public education campaigns regarding PIPA. We also recognize and urge BC’s leadership in subjecting political parties to PIPA.  

“We are excited for the opportunity to contribute to the reform of a piece of legislation that is increasingly relevant in today’s digital age,” says FIPA’s executive director, Jason Woywada. “This legislative review offers BC the opportunity to regain leadership in its privacy protection laws and amend PIPA to offer its citizens the protections they expect and deserve.”  

We look forward to presenting a comprehensive list of recommendations as part of our written submission to the Special Committee prior to the August deadline. Details on our presentation can be found here.  

Jason Woywada, Executive Director 
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association 
(e) | (p) 604-739-9788 

British Columbians want action on privacy protection: Polling results

FIPA-sponsored poll shows BC wants key reforms to privacy laws  

VANCOUVER, June 4, 2020 – Polling results released today indicate that British Columbians want increased public education and enhanced protections to their privacy rights, among other key reforms to privacy laws.  

The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) commissioned an Ipsos poll, a leading independent market research company, on public opinion regarding BC’s private sector privacy laws. The questions posed will inform FIPA’s submission to the Special Legislative Committee reviewing BC’s Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA).  

A summary of poll questions and results are posted below. Tables of results can be found here.

The polling results indicate that British Columbians are concerned about the protection for their personal information. 56% of British Columbians either don’t know or feel the current laws and practices are insufficient to protect their personal information. 47% of respondents believe organizations are not open and transparent about how they collect and use personal information. 

In addition, 75% of British Columbians answered that they were concerned about an organization transferring their personal information from BC to organizations outside of Canada. 

Finally, awareness of privacy rights and protections is concerningly low with only 32% of British Columbians aware of PIPA, 31% aware of BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, 40% aware of the right to file a complaint relating to the handling of their personal information, 33% know that they can request access to their personal information from businesses, and 33% know nothing about these topics.  

British Columbians strongly support increasing public education about privacy, including a change in education curriculums. 75% of British Columbians believe that it is important to have a targeted curriculum for K-12 schools relating to privacy rights, with 78% answering the same for post-secondary students. 

“The results of this poll show that British Columbians are concerned about how their personal information is handled by organizations,” said FIPA Executive Director Jason Woywada. “We hope that these results will help inform the Special Legislative Committee and the BC Government’s actions to implement much-needed reforms to PIPA to provide British Columbians’ the degree of protection they deserve and expect.” 


Jason Woywada, Executive Director 
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association | (o) 604-739-9788 

Ipsos posed the following questions to 802 British Columbians on behalf of FIPA, and received the following responses: 

1. Existing laws and organizational practices provide sufficient protection of my personal information. 
Yes – 43% 
No – 28% 
Don’t know – 28% 

2. Organizations are open and transparent about how they collect and use my personal information. 
Yes – 33% 
No – 47% 
Don’t know – 20% 

3. How concerned are you about an organization transferring your personal information from BC to organizations outside of Canada? 
4- Very concerned – 34% 
3- 41 % 
2- 19%
1- Not concerned at all – 6% 

4.1. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Resources for individuals regarding personal information and privacy rights 
4 – Very important – 51%
3- 37%
2- 11% 
1- Not important at all – 1% 

4.2. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Resources for individuals learning about how to protect their personal information 
4- Very important – 53%
3- 34%
2- 12%
1-Not important at all – 1% 

4.3. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Resources for individuals on obtaining help, information, and advice related to privacy 
4- Very important – 47% 
3- 40% 
2- 12% 
1-Not important at all – 1% 

4.4. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Targeted curriculum for K-12 schools relating to privacy rights
4- Very important – 35% 
3- 40% 
2- 21%
1-Not important at all – 4% 

4.5. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Targeted curriculum for post-secondary schools relating to privacy rights 
4- Very important – 37% 
3 -40% 
2- 20% 
1-Not important at all – 3% 

5. Choose the statements that best reflect your knowledge of your privacy rights 
I am aware of BC’s Personal Information Protection Act – 32% 
I am aware of BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner – 31% 
I am aware that I can request access to my personal information from businesses – 33% 
I am aware of the right to file a complaint relating to the handling of my personal information – 40% 
None of these – 33% 

These responses, as well as breakdowns by gender, education, age group, region, income, and household composition, can be downloaded here. The Ipsos Factum can be found here.