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How can the Commissioner help me?

The Information and Privacy Commissioner is an independent official appointed by the Legislature to promote and protect your information and privacy rights. The current Information and Privacy Commissioner is Michael Harvey.

The Commissioner enforces the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection Act. Under these laws:

  • Citizens can request access to information in records held by public bodies;
  • Citizens can request access to their own personal information held by public bodies and private organizations; and
  • Public bodies and private organizations must protect the personal information in their custody or control. Public bodies are required to have privacy management programs in place and to report to the Commissioner and affected individuals any privacy breach that could reasonably be expected to cause significant harm.

If you need help with resolving a privacy complaint, or if you are not getting access to records that you believe should be disclosed to you, the Commissioner may be able to help. The Commissioner has the power to:

  • Investigate, mediate and resolve appeals concerning access to information disputes;
  • Investigate and resolve privacy complaints;
  • Initiate Commissioner-led investigations and audits of public bodies or organizations, if there are reasonable grounds of non-compliance or if it is in the public interest;
  • Comment on the access and privacy implications of proposed legislation, programs or policies;
  • Comment on the privacy implications of new technologies and/or data matching schemes;
  • Conduct research into anything affecting access and privacy rights; and
  • Educate the public about their access and privacy rights under B.C. law.