Updates on provincial and federal Information Commissioners

Drew McArthur named as acting BC Information and Privacy Commissioner for the second time

After a five-day vacancy without an Information and Privacy Commissioner earlier this year, Drew McArthur was reappointed as Acting Commissioner via an order in council effective March 17.

McArthur’s term expired on Monday, March 13, but the special Legislative Committee searching for a replacement for former Commissioner Elizabeth Denham (who left last July to take a similar post in the UK) had not been able to agree on a replacement.

A new special committee will have to be created after the BC election to try again to fill this important position. Hopefully a new committee will be able to carry out this important mission.

Federal Information Commissioner won’t seek second term

In more commissioner-related news, Suzanne Legault, the Information Commissioner of Canada, announced that she will not be seeking reappointment at the end of her term, which is set to expire on June 28, 2017. Her departure is partly due to the Liberal government’s new appointment process, which “involves psychometric testing and having to file documents to explain why [she’s] qualified for the job.”

Commissioner Legault has indicated that she is willing to stay on in her post until a successor can be found. This is an important development, since the federal Liberals have been notably slow in filling vacancies, including the Ethics and Lobbying commissioners.

Commissioner Legault has an important record over her seven years of hard and dedicated work, particularly in advocating and articulating the need for extensive reform to the antiquated Access to Information Act.

We wish her all the best, and hope the government will heed her advice and get on with these vital reforms as well as the search for her successor.