New measures enhance B.C. government openness, transparency (flickr.com)

Media Contacts

Jamie Edwardson

Communications Director
Ministry of Finance
250 356-2821

Backgrounders

New Measures

Proactive release

British Columbia is one of the busiest jurisdictions in Canada when it comes to Freedom of Information requests. This is why the B.C. government has prioritized improving and expanding upon the current level of proactive disclosure with the additions of:

  • Summaries of gaming grants paid to community organizations, to be released on a quarterly basis and integrated with DataBC. This will allow the data, released under B.C.’s open government licence, to be inputted to applications and compared with other datasets.
  • Monthly summaries of directly awarded contracts, minus personal information, posted to Open Information no later than 60 days after the end of the relevant month.
  • Calendars for ministers, deputy ministers and associate deputy ministers to be released no later than 45 days after the end of the relevant month.
  • By May 20, a summary of active FOI requests made available on Open Information and updated on a weekly basis.
  • By July 30, government will start releasing receipts for ministers’ travel expenses on a quarterly basis.

Improved Open Information website

Open Information at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/openinformation is the Government of British Columbia’s online portal for the release of public records. Records generated in response to Freedom of Information requests, travel expenses for ministers and deputy ministers and other proactively released documents are contained here.

The new Open Information website aims to make it easier than ever for British Columbians to find the records they seek, either by downloading previously released material or requesting documents through FOI.

A new search function improves the ability to filter and narrow down results with additional tools and features. Visitors can now browse the website on mobile devices, thanks to a more responsive web interface that also brings added functionality for people with disabilities.

Open Information complements DataBC: https://data.gov.bc.ca/ - the Province’s online source for data, applications and tools to help the public make informed decisions, inspire change, or develop ideas and applications. There are currently over 3,600 different datasets available from the catalogue.

Information Management Act brought into force

The Information Management Act is a key piece of the B.C. government’s work to maintain the Province as a leader in transparency and openness. With this new legislation coming into force, the Document Disposal Act of 1936 is replaced with laws that specifically address the management of information in the digital age.

This modern legislation streamlines government information management, improving efficiency and making better use of tax dollars as government transitions from paper-based processes to new digital processes for managing, archiving and accessing information.

The act also provides the chief records officer with new statutory power, which will be instrumental in developing service enhancements to improve government’s ‘duty to assist’ FOI applicants – a key piece of government’s response to the Loukidelis Report’s 27 recommendations.