BC FIPA Responds to Treasury Board Consultation on Open Government

BC FIPA has made its submission on Open Government in response to this somewhat ad hoc consultation, which was announced by the President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable Tony Clement, on December 6, 2011.

Our submission is highly critical of the nature of the consultation and its focus only on open data and technology.

We did not think it was possible to create a consultation document on Open Government without making a single mention of Access to Information, but [the Treasury Board] did it … [I]t is beyond belief that a government would [do this]. The system is in crisis and the government must act immediately to make the necessary legislative and other changes.

Read the full submission (pdf).

BC FIPA also refers to its previous submission on this topic presented to the Access to Information, Ethics and Privacy Committee (ETHI) of the House of Commons early last year. In that submission, we explained how ‘open data’ cannot replace much needed reforms to the Access to Information system.

Read the ETHI submission (pdf).

Federal Liberal’s Position on ATI Reform

Liberal Party of Canada’s response to BC FIPA, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and Newspapers Canada’s question regarding their position on ATI reform.

A Liberal government will:


• Post all Access to Information requests, responses, and response times online at accesstoinformation.gc.ca;


• Immediately restore the long-form census;


• Make as many government datasets as possible available to the public online free of charge at opendata.gc.ca in an open and searchable format, starting with Statistics Canada data, including data from the long-form census; and


• Make information on government grants, contributions and contracts available through a searchable, online database at accountablespending.gc.ca.

Download the response (pdf).

Federal NDP’s Position on ATI Reform

Jack Layton’s response on behalf of the NDP to FIPA, CTF, and Newspapers Canada question regarding the party’s position on access to information reform.

New Democrats are committed to improve the Access to Information system through a variety of measures that include increasing the powers of the Information Commissioner, speeding up the processing time of requests, allowing for online submission and retrieval of records and obliging public officials to create records necessary to their document decisions and actions.

New Democrats will reinstate the mandatory long form census.

Download the response (pdf).

FIPA Presents Submission on Open Government to House of Commons ETHI Committee

BC FIPA presented its submission on ‘Open Government’ to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI).

We have to ensure that overdue moves toward more routine release and the use of technology to make government information more widely available must also make this information useable for all Canadians.

Canadians must have the ability to request specific information from their government and receive that information in a reasonable time at no or minimal cost. This means creating a functional Access to Information system.

No one wants to head toward a dystopia where governments push out information electronically which no one uses or trusts, while occasional Wikileaks-type document dumps raise the risk of serious damage to legitimate state, business or personal interests.

Government information was paid for with taxpayers money, we own it and we should have access to it.

Read the full submission (pdf).