Amendments strengthen access to information, protect people’s privacy (

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Ministry of Citizens’ Services

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Extensive consultation informs information access, privacy protection amendments

Thousands of people, businesses, Indigenous leaders and organizations, and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) provided valuable input into proposed amendments to B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA). The Province also received recommendations from two all-party special committees of the legislative assembly.

Consultations through 2017-19 helped identify and understand stakeholder concerns and priorities. Between April and August 2021, the Ministry of Citizens’ Services engaged with stakeholder groups to confirm previous input and present proposed improvements based on their feedback, including gaining an understanding of how potential changes may affect their organizations. Participants included B.C. public-sector bodies, provincial government ministries, Indigenous groups, the B.C. tech sector and the public. Feedback was also received through roundtable meetings and presentations in the broader public sector, such as post-secondary institutions, local governments and health authorities.

From June 15 to July 15, 2021, a govTogetherBC survey asked people how or if their thoughts on access to government information and the protection of privacy have changed with the pandemic’s shift to more government services being delivered online. The questions focused on how individuals access information, data residency, the freedom of information process, reporting privacy breaches, and offences and penalties. More than 1,700 individuals responded.

Engagement with Indigenous leaders and communities to better understand how reconciliation efforts can be supported through improved access to information and privacy was a priority. This work continues and has included meetings with Indigenous organizations, discussions with Treaty First Nations representatives, and a 2021 questionnaire sent to more than 200 First Nations leaders in communities throughout the province. This builds on similar engagement with Indigenous community leaders and Treaty First Nations in winter 2018-19.

Proposed amendments were also informed through more than a dozen meetings with the OIPC between April and August 2021.

A summary of the 2021 engagement, including public surveys, is available online: