The Mess That Is Vancouver FOI

In the middle of July last year I filed what I thought was a fairly simple FOI request with the City of Vancouver.  Last November, I wrote about the unpleasantness that followed. Today — seven months after that last report, and almost 12 months since the original request — my FOI Request has still not been dealt with, even though the process is supposed to take just 30 days from beginning to end.

My request is currently being investigated by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC, so I guess it will be resolved at some point.

I bring this up again because this morning the Commissioner issued a devastating report on Vancouver City’s handling of FOIs in general. It found:

  • possible deletions of emails (similar to the triple delete policies of the Clark regime in Victoria);
  • missing documentation;
  • failure to meet legislated deadlines;
  • unjustified
  • failure to provide reasons for non-responsiveness;
  • unjustified fees required;
  • communications with requesters were “unhelpful” in “tone”.

The body of the Report gives examples of egregious errors and attitudes at CoV. The report concludes that “[b]uilding and maintaining open and constructive communication with applicants would help the City improve compliance with its legislated duty to assist. This report points to a need for City executive to lead a cultural shift that changes the dynamic with access applicants.”

We can but hope.

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