B.C. privacy responses taking step backwards, says commissioner's report

B.C.'s Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.
Image Credit: Source/B.C. Privacy Commissioner

VICTORIA - B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says provincial government response to access to information requests is getting slower.

Denham's latest report says delays in response times for information frustrates those who file the requests and erodes the public's right to know.

Legislation mandates the government to complete access requests to within 30 business days, but the commissioner says in the past two years on-time response requests have dropped from 93 per cent to 74 per cent.

Her report, called Backwards: Report Card on Government's Access to Information Responses, makes seven recommendations to speed up the process, including allowing the public more access to calendars of cabinet ministers and senior public officials.

Denham says the on-time 30-day responses from Ministry of Technology, Information and Citizens' Services and issues connected to the Ministry of Children and Family Development have dropped from 99 per cent to 52 per cent.

She says she's also concerned about the government's record management and the deletion of emails that staff consider short term in nature, and suggests government officials make sure the documents are archived.

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