2023-2024 Annual Report & Service Plan

The 2023-24 annual report & service plan includes feature articles on key themes from the last fiscal year, highlights of the work of the office, and statistics breaking down the number of files received by the OIPC, the types of complaints received, the outcomes of complaints and requests for reviews, and much more. The service plan outlines the office's goals, strategies, and performance metrics.

To view the full annual report and service plan: https://www.oipc.bc.ca/documents/budget-annual-report-service-plans/2796

To read a short overview of the report: https://www.oipc.bc.ca/documents/infographics/2795

First page of the OIPC overview sheet

Commissioner's message

Our democratic form of government consists of more than just an election every four years.

Woven into our system of governance are checks, balances and guardrails that ensure governments act with restraint and are accountable throughout their tenure. Our court system ensures laws are interpreted independently of those who make them. And in some jurisdictions, legislative assemblies, as opposed to governments, have appointed officers to watch over governments in accord with a legal framework.

It has been my great privilege to serve as one of those officers during the past six years.

Three goals have driven my term as Commissioner.


Whether it be a privacy breach, a request to review a public body’s decision to deny access to information, a complaint, or a simple question, minimizing the time to resolve any matter is fundamentally important. I was especially concerned about the delays associated with our adjudication function; the formal step sometimes needed to finally settle a case by order. We had too many cases and too few adjudicators to handle them. I was grateful to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services who agreed to recommend strengthening the adjudication division – it has resulted in a significant reduction of case backlog.


Many emergent issues respecting access to information and protection of privacy arose during my term. However, the office’s finite resources meant judiciously choosing which of those were a priority for investigation. Recent examples included; “Left Untreated,” which focused on security gaps in one of BC’s largest health data bases; the use of facial recognition technology by Canadian Tire Dealerships; and an examination the provincial government’s timeliness in responding to access to information requests over the past three years. All of these matters spoke significantly to the accountability of public and private organizations.


It is critical that our privacy and access laws are fit for purpose.

Progress has been made over the past six years. Privacy management programs are now required for all public bodies in BC, who must also report breaches of personal information that would pose a real risk of significant harm to people. These are important steps forward that serve to build trust in our governmental institutions.

It is also important that private organizations in BC face these same legal obligations - but they do not. In fact, BC is now almost alone in Canada and the United States in failing to protect its citizens by requiring organizations to report breaches resulting in significant harm to individuals. This needs to be fixed.

On the access to information front government took a step backwards by permitting public bodies to charge a $10 application fee for general requests for information. A more positive measure saw the provincial government acting proactively to publicly disclose more types of records.

The Importance of Cooperative Regulation

Over the past six years, we have witnessed a continuous explosion of technologies and the use of those technologies by companies to accumulate vast amounts of personal information about us all. Advances in artificial intelligence have exponentially accelerated this collection of data. How do we tackle these immense challenges which are global in scope?

For too long, companies have operated seemingly everywhere, but have been accountable nowhere. That is changing. Many jurisdictions have passed laws aimed at protecting individuals and societal interests. In some cases, the law is identical across jurisdictions. The European Data Protection Regulation is one example. In most other cases, the laws are not identical but the principles underlying them are similar enough to allow regulators to cooperate across boundaries.

Ultimately, in a world where data knows no boundaries, cooperative regulation is the only way digital technology, and its consequences, can be regulated in the public interest.

My office has taken a leadership role in this important area, helping to coordinate investigations at the federal/provincial level and strengthening ties among regulators in the Asian Pacific region. Together with federal/provincial colleagues we have undertaken critical examinations of OpenAI and TikTok. At the international level, we have served as Secretariat to the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities which includes 21 jurisdictions in the Asia Pacific Rim. These are British Columbia’s trading partners, and where trade goes so too does personal data.

These bonds must be strengthened if we are to properly protect the interests of British Columbians. That will require giving our office additional tools consistent with those being acquired in other jurisdictions to allow consistent and enhanced enforcement across provincial and national boundaries.

I cannot state this strongly enough. Regulation of private sector privacy is not someone else’s responsibility. British Columbia cannot be a bystander when it comes to these needed changes. Only BC’s legislature can pass laws that will ensure we can work with other jurisdictions to protect BC’s citizens.

The pages that follow detail the operation of my office over the last fiscal year. But behind these numbers and the stories that help illustrate them are an exceptional team of people. I am grateful that they have given their skills and abilities to serve in an office that helps strengthen the fabric of democratic system of governance. None of this, given recent world events, can be taken for granted.

Throughout my tenure, our Senior Leadership Team, headed by Deputy Commissioners oline Twiss and Jeannette Van Den Bulk, have helped shaped the office’s direction. This was especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic. That event fundamentally reshaped the way the office functions. We adapted and are meeting the demands on the office even more effectively than ever.

To my colleagues with whom I have worked during my tenure as Commissioner and my time in the office since 2007 – thank you for your guidance, friendship, and dedication to the mission we have all shared. 



[Tag] Annual Reports