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Legally required annual report on FOI act last done in 1995

British Columbia's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act requires the minister responsible to file an annual report with the legislature. That was last done in 1995.

The government today posted a response on its open information website for, "The most recent completed annual report on the administration of the FOIPOP Act as required by section 68."

But that most recent report is dated June 2, 1995, signed by Ujjal Dosanjh when he was the minister of government services in an NDP administration. It appears five years of NDP government's and 10 years of Liberal governments have since ignored the law.

A spokesperson for the labour, citizens' services and open government ministry said he would seek an explanation.

Section 68 of the act says, "The minister responsible for this Act must prepare an annual report on its administration and lay the report before the Legislative Assembly as soon as possible."

The government's policy manual goes into more detail: "The minister responsible for the Act is required to submit a report to the Legislative Assembly on the administration of the Act on an annual basis. Annual reports typically include statistical data, identification of special issues, summaries of significant Commissioner’s Orders, and any major legislative changes that may have occurred."

The 1995 report was 50 pages long and included detailed information on the information and privacy branch's budget.

The independent officer of the legislature responsible for overseeing the administration of the act has noticed the lack of annual reports. The most recent report card from the Information and Privacy Commissioner's office notes, "This Office has reminded the Minister of the responsibility to fulfill this obligation on more than one occasion."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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