Criminal Investigation into the Conduct of a Former Minister

Vancouver, October 7, 2019 –  The Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, announced late Friday that he has accepted the resignation of the Minister of Citizens’ Services, Jinny Sims, due to an ongoing RCMP investigation into her conduct. At this time, precise details into the nature criminal investigation of Minister Sims are unknown.

The former Minister of Citizens’ Services oversaw the administration of the freedom of information laws that are contained within the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the records management practices contained in the Information Management Act (IMA).

During their 2017 campaign, the NDP promised to make reforms to the FIPPA. These included the creation of a duty to document government decisions and the inclusion of this provision within the FIPPA. Instead, the government added this provision to the IMA, which places authority within the former Minister to ensure government accountability. If the provision were to be included in the FIPPA, independent oversight would be given to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC.  

“This is a time for the government to move forward with a comprehensive reform of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,” says Sara Neuert, the Executive Director of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. “This is a necessary step in rebuilding trust with the public, it’s what was promised, and it’s the recommendation of the all-party special legislative committee that reviewed the FIPPA in 2016, former Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, and current Commissioner Michael McEvoy.”

The former Minister of Citizens’ Services, Jinny Sims, issued a public apology in the spring of 2018 for conduct that contravened BC’s freedom of information laws. In the spring of 2019, a former staff member made several new allegations, which included an accusation that the former Minister continues to break these laws. We will be following the RCMP investigation very closely.


Sara Neuert, Executive Director

BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

Email: fipa (at)

Phone: 604-739-9788


The BC FOI News Story Index

Vancouver, September 26, 2019 – As part of Right to Know Week 2019, Independent journalist Stanley Tromp has published the BC Freedom of Information (FOI) News Story Index. The new resource, which received support from the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, is a database that documents significant news items produced using BC’s FOI laws since they came into force in 1993.

The resource includes more than 1,900 news items based on government records obtained using BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (and other FOI laws), including items featured in newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television. They are all part of the new Excel database that Mr. Tromp has separated into 24 searchable categories.

“This resource represents a huge step in demonstrating the importance of BC’s freedom of information laws,” says Sara Neuert, the Executive Director of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. “It shows how the legislation has been used in the public interest for almost 30 years, and helps to put in perspective what we’re at risk of losing without law reform.”

The BC FOI News Story Index will be a useful reference for students of journalism, FOI applicants and appellants, media lawyers, special interest groups, historians, and anyone interested in using freedom of information laws in order to exercise their right to know.

As the database demonstrates, BC’s freedom of information laws have been instrumental in breaking some of the most important stories since 1993. This new resource highlights the importance of the laws in more detail than ever before. Tromp provides a thorough introduction to the Index that emphasizes the public interest value of FOI, makes the case for reforming BC’s FOI law, and provides inspiration and encouragement for aspiring accountability journalists.

The BC FOI News Story Index also received support from Tom Crean.

The BC FOI News Story Index is available on Tromp’s website:


Sara Neuert, Executive Director

BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

Email: fipa (at)

Phone: 604-739-9788


FIPA is hiring a new Executive Director!

The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association is looking for a new Executive Director.

Our current Executive Director, Sara Neuert, will be leaving FIPA at the end of October, and FIPA is looking for a passionate, knowledgeable leader who is looking to make a difference in the world of information and privacy rights.

The organization

The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (BC FIPA) is a non-partisan, non-profit society that was established a quarter century ago to promote and defend freedom of information and privacy rights in Canada. Our goal is to empower citizens by increasing their access to information and their control over their own personal information.  We serve a wide variety of individuals and organizations through programs of public education, public assistance, research, and law reform advocacy.

The position

The Executive Director reports to and advises the FIPA Board of Directors, and currently oversees one full-time staff, occasional part-time staff, volunteers, and contractors.  This position is accountable for the leadership of the organization, and for the communication and expansion of the organization’s messages and values.

Primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Governance and leadership

  • Work with the Board to ensure the Association’s vision, mission, and strategic priorities remain current;
  • Work collaboratively with partner organizations at local, provincial and national levels;
  • Support the Board by organizing and attending meetings, and advising the Board on all relevant issues.

Research, client assistance, and law reform

  • Plan, coordinate and supervise public interest advocacy campaigns, and special events;
  • Provide direct assistance to FIPA clients on issues related to information and privacy rights;
  • Propose, plan, and manage special projects, including law reform initiatives, that contribute to the Association’s goals;
  • Conduct research on topics related to the Association’s mandate, and direct staff and contract researchers.

Operational planning, management, and reporting

  • Conduct organizational and strategic planning in conjunction with the Board of Directors;
  • Ensure legal requirements under the Societies Act are fulfilled;
  • Direct FIPA day-to-day operations in conjunction with the Program Director;
  • Supervise all financial operations;
  • Prepare annual and ad hoc reports for FIPA’s major funders.

Human resources planning

  • Recruit and direct staff, volunteers, and contractors, including pro bono lawyers;
  • Determine staff requirements.


  • Responsible for the overall diversification of funding and resource development;
  • Oversee all fundraising activities, including grant application, donation and membership drives, and special events;
  • Ensure grant proposals, applications, and reports are completed and submitted on time.

Communications, stakeholder and member relations

  • Coordinate and conduct communications and relations with government, media, other stakeholders, and community groups;
  • Act as the main spokesperson for the Association, including by responding to media requests for comment and by preparing written material that presents the position of the Association;
  • Seek out and build collaborative initiatives and relationships with stakeholder organizations;
  • Supervise preparation of promotional and information materials;
  • Attend stakeholder events, representing the Association’s interests and priorities;
  • Supervise all FIPA communications content, including web and social media, a quarterly bulletin, press releases, and other publications.

The candidate

The successful candidate will not only have the expertise and experience to manage and expand a non-profit group dedicated to civil liberties issues, but will also have the entrepreneurial bent and the positive, enthusiastic attitude necessary to help FIPA grow.


You are an excellent leader who can organize and supervise a team, work with a board of directors, Association members, and partners, build and contribute to coalitions of allies, and communicate with a range of audiences and stakeholders.  You are a creative and critical thinker who can follow through on a strategic plan while responding to emerging issues.  You are keenly interested in information and privacy rights, and you are familiar with current issues in these fields. You understand how these issues connect to broader debates about civil liberties, human rights, and democratic institutions.  You possess a strong working understanding of the laws and policies that govern privacy rights and freedom of information, especially in BC, and you have experience using the law strategically, either as a lawyer or with substantial experience working with the tools of the Canadian legal system.

You will possess:

  • Demonstrated successful management experience in the non-profit sector, including experience in fundraising
  • A proven track record in communications and advocacy in the non-profit sector
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and organizational abilities
  • Experience and competence in research and writing
  • Professional capability with computers and electronic communications
  • A law degree and / or a graduate degree in social sciences, communications, or another relevant discipline.

Working conditions

This is a full-time position based out of our office in Vancouver, B.C. Some travel required, possibly to Ottawa and/or Victoria.

BC FIPA is an equal opportunity employer and encourages women, Indigenous people, people of colour, and LGBTQIA and individuals from other diverse communities to apply.

Information and instructions for applicants

Individuals interested in this opportunity are asked to submit an e-mail outlining their interest in the position, with two attached files consisting separately of a cover letter and resume.  Please include your name and the phrase “Application for Executive Director” in the subject line of the e-mail and send to BC FIPA at

No phone calls please.  For questions about the position, please email FIPA President, Mike Larsen, at

All attached files must be in PDF format only; other formats will not be accepted or considered.  Files must not be locked or password protected, nor should they contain any hyperlinks.  We will not consider any materials which require us to use a hyperlink to access.

Please note that only short-listed applicants will be contacted.

Application Submission and Candidate Selection Timelines

BC FIPA is striving to have the Executive Director position filled by mid- to late October.  The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is hired.  Interested parties are strongly encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible.

Additional Information Regarding Candidate Selection

Short-listed applicants should be prepared to participate in further interviews with members of the Selection Committee, either in person or via teleconference.  Short-listed applicants should also be prepared to provide additional materials to the selection committee such as:

  • A sample of communications based on scenarios specified by the Selection Committee
  • An example of communications work with respect to policy or advocacy in previous positions
  • Names and contact details of at least three qualified professional references

Transparency, Privacy, and the Federal Election

It is election season, and the leaders of Canada’s political parties are making promises, presenting platforms, and answering questions about plans and policies.

The next Government of Canada will have to take positions on transparency reform, privacy in a digital age, democracy and Big Data, and the regulation of increasingly-intrusive surveillance practices.

We want to make sure that the information and privacy rights are part of the public conversation during the election period, and we want your help!

Send us an email at and share the information and privacy policy questions that you would like to see answered by the federal political parties.

We will be compiling an Election Questionnaire, just as we did during BC’s last provincial election, and sending it to the major parties.

The election is on the horizon, so we hope to hear from you soon!