Attend Western Canada’s most important training conference on privacy legislation in the private sector and health care sector, “Understanding Privacy: New Laws, New Challenges.” March 11 & 12, 2002 at the Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, B.C
The 2001 Freedom of Information and Privacy Awards
November 19, 2001 7:00 pm
898 West Broadway
Arvay Finlay Barristers
Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA)
BC Coalition of People with Disabilities
BC Library Association
BC Teachers Federation
Canadian Newspaper Association
Canadian Taxpayers Federation
David F. Sutherland & Associates
Dr. Scott and Terri Cornell
Kearney Funeral Services
The Law Foundation of British Columbia
MacLeod & Company LLP
The PACE Group
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Trial Lawyers Association of BC
The Freedom of Information and Privacy Awards are given annually to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to information rights in Canada. Awards are given in in four categories:
1. WHISTLEBLOWER AWARDS – For taking action to disclose information that is vital to the public interest, in spite of personal risk.
2. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AWARDS – For outstanding and publicly beneficial use of a freedom of information act in Canada.
3. PRIVACY ADVOCATE AWARD – For outstanding contribution to the advancement of privacy rights in Canada.
4. INFORMATION RIGHTS AWARD – For lifetime contribution to freedom of information and privacy rights in Canada.
Prof. Richard Rosenberg, Dept. of Computer Science, UBC:
“Is the enemy us? — New threats to privacy, freedom of information and civil liberties in the age of terrorism”
Prof. Rosenberg is an author, privacy advocate and Vice President of Electronic Frontier Canada, an internet civil liberties group.
This Year’s Winners
Freedom of Information award:
ANDREW McINTOSH — An award-winning investigative reporter with the National Post, McIntosh used the Access to Information Act to break the “Shawinigate” story about Jean Chretien’s involvement in obtaining government grants for businessmen in his riding. As an instructor, McIntosh has taught over 500 journalists how to make effective use of FOI laws.
Privacy Advocate Award:
Information Rights Award:
KEN RUBIN — Mr. Rubin is the foremost advocate and “expert user” of freedom of information acts in Canada. As a public interest researcher, he blazed the trail in the use of Canada’s Access to Information Act and has held the government to account through hundreds of access appeals and several important court cases.
DR. NOEL BUSKARD — An award-winning professor of medicine at UBC, Dr. Buskard suffered reprisals after going public to expose the “abysmal” state of Vancouver General Hospital’s laboratory services, protest the improper firing of the hospital’s head emergency nurse, and expose what he called “filthy” and unsafe conditions at Heather Pavilion.
Cpl. ROBERT READ — This RCMP investigator went public with allegations that senior officers were attempting a cover-up of corruption at Canada’s diplomatic mission in Hong Kong. Up to 30 foreign service officers who were named in his investigation have been reprimanded for accepting “gifts” from wealthy Chinese families.
ADMISSION IS FREE, BUT RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. CALL 604-739-9788
COST OF ADMISSION TO POST-EVENT RECEPTION: $10
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
BC FREEDOM OF INFORMATION & PRIVACY ASSN.
Tel: (604) 739-9788 Fax: (604) 739-9148
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.fipa.bc.ca
Freedom of Information and Privacy Awards 1999 Winners
Information Rights Award:
THOMAS B. RILEY — For more than 25 years working within Canada and around the world to get freedom of information and privacy acts — including B.C.’s — developed and enacted. Mr. Riley is an Ottawa-based information policy consultant, a visiting professor at the University of Glasgow, and Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Centre for Electronic Governance.
Dr. Nancy Olivieri – Dr. Olivieri made front-page news across Canada when, as the lead researcher conducting trials of a drug for the treatment of a rare blood disorder, she went public with findings that the drug was causing harmful effects. She took this action in spite of a gag order, threats of lawsuits from the drug manufacturer, and sanctions by the hospital where she practiced.
Margaret Haydon – At considerable risk to her 15-year career as a drug evaluator with Health Canada, Ms. Haydon went public with evidence that certain drugs being approved by the department could be harmful to human health.
Freedom of Information Awards:
Jim Bronskill, reporter, Southam News, Ottawa – Bronskill used Canada’s Access to Information Act to unearth a 20-year program in which federal prisonerss were used as guinea pigs in experiments involving drugs, sensory deprivation and shock treatment.
Ann Rees, reporter, The Province, Vancouver – Rees used B.C.’s FOI act to research a series of articles entitled “Drugging Our Children” which revealed the misuse of the prescription drug Ritalin to control the behavior of normal children in some B.C. Schools.
Privacy Advocate Award:
Dr. Scott Cornell and Nancy Cornell – This West Vancouver couple went public with their refusal to cooperate with Statistics Canada’s intrusive “Family Expenditure Survey”. Following their complaints to Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Statscan made compliance with the survey voluntary.
BC FIPA has released “Personal Health Information and the Right to Privacy in Canada: An overview of statutory, common law, voluntary and constitutional privacy protection”, a law reform report prepared by Susan Prosser of the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BCPIAC).
Confidentiality and informed consent form the backbone of the medical system. As Bruce Phillips, the federal Privacy Commissioner, argued in his 1996-97 Annual Report, “an individual’s right to control the disclosure of personal medical information should be paramount. That right should be overruled only in the face of an overwhelming and compelling public interest (or to provide the patient emergency care).”
If the federal and provincial governments fail to pass legislation which protects individuals’ rights to privacy, it will be up to the courts to decide under what circumstances individuals have a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy and whether legislation that permits either use or disclosure to third parties without consent passes constitutional muster.
BC FIPA along with the Canadian Mental Health Association (Alberta Division), the Alberta Medical Association, and United Nurses of Alberta has published a discussion paper on Alberta’s recently adopted Health Information Act (HIA).
The paper, titled “Alberta’s Health Information Act and the Charter”, reviews the underpinnings of the right to privacy in Canada, the protection of this right afforded under the Charter, and discusses issues and concerns with the HIA.
The Act allows individually identifying health information to be disclosed without the individual’s consent in a number of circumstances … If particularly sensitive information is not effectively protected, this may violate individuals’ privacy and also the equality rights of individuals with certain personal characteristics.
The definition of non-identifying information establishes a low threshold which … increases the likelihood of privacy violations.
This preliminary analysis indicates that there are constitutional issues raised by the text of the Health Information Act. It will also be essential to bear in mind the constitutional protection of the right to privacy as the Act is implemented. The actions of government in implementing the Act … must therefore be taken in a manner which is consistent with the Charter, including its requirement to respect individuals’ privacy.