Local MP Helps Shape Freedom of Information and Privacy Report

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MP Tom Shypitka

Tom Shypitka, MP for Kootenay East is part of a multi-partisan special committee to review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) that released a report with recommendations to improve and modernize access to information and privacy rules in the public sector in British Columbia.

FIPPA applies to over 2,900 public bodies in British Columbia. The law provides a right of access to records and imposes limits on the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. It also establishes the office, powers and responsibilities of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

The committee made 34 recommendations, including:

* immediately clarify and expand the types of records that must be disclosed, while moving toward proactive disclosure of all records that are not explicitly noted as exceptions in the law;

* modernize and improve the way public bodies handle access to information requests;

* establish a comprehensive health information privacy law;

* regulate automated decision-making; and

* strengthen the powers of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

“Freedom of information and confidentiality are two essential elements in building trust in public bodies,” said Rick Glumac, MPP for Port Moody-Coquitlam, chair of the committee. “We need to ensure that the access to information system is accessible and effective for British Columbians, and that privacy and surveillance provisions keep pace with rapid technological change.

Nechako Lakes MPP John Rustad, Vice-Chair, added, “We heard loud and clear that the way public bodies handle access to information requests needs to change. This report makes a series of recommendations focused on BC’s move towards a culture of openness and recommends that public bodies proactively disclose all records not protected by law.

During the public consultation process, the committee received 97 presentations and briefs. The report is available online: www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/faith

Committee members are: Rick Glumac, MLA, Port Moody-Coquitlam (Chair); John Rustad, MP, Nechako Lakes (Vice-Chair); Tom Shypitka, MP, Kootenay East; Susie Chant, MP, North Vancouver-Seymour; Adam Olsen, MPP, Saanich North and the Islands; Kelli Paddon, MP, Chilliwack-Kent; and Henry Yao, MPP, Richmond South Centre.

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