The introduction of the amendments to B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) contained in section 22 of Bill 35 demonstrate that the government is willing to move forward on legislative reform.
And as the all-party special committee who reviewed the Act in 2016 found in their 39 recommendations, the FIPPA is definitely in need of reform.
But, when it comes to the proposed amendments to the FIPPA contained in Bill 35, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) supports the assessment of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. (OIPC).
We are firmly committed to the requirements for local data storage contained within the Act. We do not support amendments to the legislation that function to erode the protections enshrined in the Act. The OIPC assessment of the language in section 22 of Bill 35 as “too permissive” is entirely accurate.
B.C. FIPA is disappointed by the proposed reforms to the FIPPA for the following reasons:
Despite all of this, the proposed amendments in section 22 of Bill 35 do demonstrate that the government is willing to make reforms to the FIPPA. In the wake of scandal, the challenge for the government will be to realize the possibility of these reforms. The proposed amendments for the FIPPA in Bill 35 are a move that is too little, too late, and in the wrong direction.
The government now has an opportunity to distinguish itself from previous governments by proposing meaningful reform that further the information and privacy rights for British Columbians. They have promised transparency and accountability and it is now time to demonstrate it.