BC FIPA has responded to the Federal Government consultation on the Open Government Partnership commitments with a highly critical examination of the government’s approach.
Lack of transparency is a serious issue in this country, and not just for this government. However, the Government of Canada labours under the most archaic Access to Information law, and has shown no inclination to improve the legislation. This is despite credible critiques from a series of Commissioners, experts, media and civil society groups.
The current OGP commitments are tinkering around the edges of a very serious problem. This government has in the past made credible proposals for reform which it has seen fit to ignore while in office. Until serious proposals for reform are included as commitments to the OGP, the government’s commitment to open government has to be questioned.
Read the full submission.
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).
In this issue:
- ‘Open Government’ trend is heating up – Will there be light as well as heat?
- FIPA to Parliamentary committee: avoid ‘open government’
models that reduce citizens’ information rights
- Commissioner investigates so-called “Proactive Disclosure” policies
- BC Government goes to court again to contest release of full IBM contract
- FIPA welcomes new Minister for Open Government, asks her to post long-awaited IBM contract online
- Recent Moves to Share Private Information across Government Agencies a Disturbing Trend
- FIPA access to gaming funds cut in half
- FIPA fights in Supreme Court of Canada
- Attend the FIPA Annual General Meeting
Download the bulletin (pdf).
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).