The University of Victoria Environmental Law Clinic
,on behalf of BC FIPA, has a submission to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to request an investigation into the disregard of section 25 of the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) by public bodies.
BC FIPA is concerned that there is an ongoing system-wide failure of FIPPA-regulated bodies to comply with section 25 of the Act. This provision creates a positive obligation for public bodies to act without delay to disclose to the public or affected groups information:
- about a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the
public or a group of people, or
- the disclosure of which is, for any other reason, clearly in the public interest.
Unfortunately, many public bodies appear to be unaware of or ignoring these obligations.
This submission outlines six case studies where public bodies were in possession of information about a threat to the environment, public health or safety — or information the disclosure of which was otherwise clearly in the public interest, but either did not disclose the information or disclosed it in a manner inadequate to the purpose of informing the general public or affected group(s).
Theses cases suggest a trend of non-compliance with s. 25 that requires further investigation by the Commissioner.
Law Student Darryl Wightman and Articled Students Emma Hume, Ethan Krindle and Carmen Gustafson
Supervised by Calvin Sandborn, ELC Legal Director
May 30, 2012