What happens when you complain to the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia (“OIPC”) regarding the actions of the BCSC? NOTHING!   And what happens when the OIPC office even admits in writing that the BCSC did not respond to the FOI request in the time allowed under the FIPPA Act?   NOTHING!

As some of you have probably read earlier in this blog, the FOI Staff at the BCSC has until June 6, 2016 to reply to our request for information.   They dated their letter June 7, 2016 and sent it to me on June 8, 2016 – after I had officially complained to the OIPC office via email.

On June 14, 2016, we sent a formal complaint wanting to know what was the penalty for breaching the FIPPA Act in British Columbia.    After weeks of not hearing back, we again sent another email (a second request) on July 3, 2016.   These emails can be found here:

Emails to FOI Office – June 14, 2016 and July 3, 2016

Today (July 5, 2016) we received an email back from the OIPC office which thankfully confirmed everything we complained about – they even conclude that Staff at the BCSC did not respond in the time allocated of 30 days.

However, as you can see, they conclude their letter by stating,

“With respect to your request that BCSC’s non-compliance be recorded, our letter to you dated June 9, 2016 is our confirmation that BCSC did not meet its statutory obligation to respond within the timeframe required by FIPPA. If BCSC had complied with FIPPA our office would not have written that letter.

In summary, the OIPC is unable to levy any punishment in this matter and no further action will be taken.”

Letter from FOI Office – July 4, 2016

As always – it seems there are always two sets of rules in this Province!   Why do they have the FIPPA Act if Staff at the BCSC are able to bend, twist, and outright mismanage its content?    When they don’t want to disclose information under a FOI request they sure point to the Act as a reference without delay!  Why is it different when we point the finger at them?

Patrick Egan (Director in Investigations) even admits in his letter the OIPC “is unable to levy any punishment in this matter…” and we want to know why? IF YOU DON’T HAVE A REMEDY FOR THOSE THAT BREACH THE FIPPA ACT…MAYBE IT’S TIME YOU DO!    Have you ever thought about that?? Maybe it is time for changes….and those that breach the FIPPA Act are held accountable.

It is now unfortunate –  the wording in Egan’s letter allows future breaches by government agencies to do so knowing there in NOTHING the OIPC office can (or will) do about it!   What a shame!