Mediation Summaries

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While the Commissioner has the authority to resolve access and privacy disputes by issuing legally binding orders and decisions, we first attempt to reach a mediated resolution that is satisfactory to all parties. A high percentage of our attempted mediations are successful, meaning that both or all parties to the dispute express satisfaction with the outcome.

This section of the website provides summaries of some of the complaint investigation and request for review files that were mediated by our office. These summaries are collected from files that have been closed and are no longer active. We publish these summaries in an effort to educate and inform individuals, public bodies and private organizations who may be involved in a similar dispute and are looking for guidance on how it might be resolved.

Year
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Legislation
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Case Date Title
Summary
F15-18-MS Dec 30, 2015 Proper treatment of a request for records An applicant asked a public body for records concerning a transaction involving the public body and ... more
An applicant asked a public body for records concerning a transaction involving the public body and other third parties. The public body told the applicant that it would treat her request as a general inquiry. When she protested that she wanted her request treated as formal request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), she was told the public body would respond as it saw fit. She complained to us, emphasizing that she had wanted her request to be subject to FIPPA to ensure the public body responded to her request within FIPPA’s timelines.
F15-17-MS Dec 23, 2015 FIPPA applies only to records in the custody or under the control of a public body An applicant received a number of records further to an access request she made to a public body. Th... more
An applicant received a number of records further to an access request she made to a public body. The applicant noticed that the public body’s response did not include an agenda for a meeting involving a number of public bodies. The public body to whom the applicant made the request told her it didn’t have a printed copy of the agenda. The applicant was aware that the agenda existed on one of the other public body’s “members only” website and asked the public body to whom she had made the request to access it and provide her with a printed copy. That raised the question of whether the public body could be considered to have custody and control of records that could be accessed on the website of another public body.
F15-16-MS Dec 17, 2015 Applicant objects to fee for access to water test data An applicant requested access to the results of some water testing that had been conducted by a publ... more
An applicant requested access to the results of some water testing that had been conducted by a public body relating to a community’s water supply.
F15-15-MS Dec 9, 2015 Applicant requests survey section containing personal information from public body A public body responded to a request for the narrative portion of a survey it had conducted with a p... more
A public body responded to a request for the narrative portion of a survey it had conducted with a partial release of information. It withheld the remainder under s. 22(1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which requires a public body to withhold personal information, the disclosure of which would be an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy.
F15-14-MS Aug 12, 2015 Prison guard accesses inmate's personal information in work database Checking up on someone’s personal details on a workplace computer can be so quick and easy that the ... more
Checking up on someone’s personal details on a workplace computer can be so quick and easy that the occasional employee may forget the importance of privacy protection and the fact that electronic snooping may not go unnoticed. Some public bodies build in the ability to monitor who is accessing what personal data and when into their security procedures. The consequences for snooping can be severe and unpleasant.
F15-13-MS Jul 28, 2015 Privacy obstacles frustrate daughter seeking answers about father's death The daughter of a man who died in hospital asked a health authority for a copy of his medical record... more
The daughter of a man who died in hospital asked a health authority for a copy of his medical records so she could try to unravel what seemed to her the mysterious circumstances of his death. The health authority denied the request, telling her that “neither you nor your brother were listed as contacts on the medical record or listed in the will.” It seemed to her outrageous that the next of kin of the deceased could be so brusquely denied access to a parent’s medical information, so she asked our office to review the health authority’s response.
F15-12-MS Jul 22, 2015 Contractor says his birthdate none of government's business A ministry awarded a road-building contract to a man who operated as a sole proprietor and was there... more
A ministry awarded a road-building contract to a man who operated as a sole proprietor and was therefore personally responsible for legal liabilities incurred in the operation of his business. The ministry needed to confirm he was at least 19 and therefore legally a responsible adult, so it asked him for two pieces of identification including one showing his date of birth. He objected and asked us to investigate the ministry’s authority to require him to provide his date of birth.
F15-11-MS Jul 13, 2015 Public body tells requester "come back in a few months" A woman who wrote to a municipality requesting a copy of its revenue and expenses statement took umb... more
A woman who wrote to a municipality requesting a copy of its revenue and expenses statement took umbrage when she was told to “come back in a few months,” after the municipality had completed its annual audit. She wrote again, asking the municipality to reconsider its response and send her with a copy without delay. Hearing nothing in reply, she complained to us.
F15-10-MS Jul 7, 2015 Public body refuses access to internal audit summaries The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) lists several specific exceptions t... more
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) lists several specific exceptions to the general right of access in ss. 12 through 22. A public body receiving a request for information carefully reviews the application of those exceptions before responding to the request. It needs to ensure that, in the particular circumstances of the request, its application of FIPPA exceptions meets the rigorous tests required by FIPPA, as interpreted over the years in orders by the OIPC Commissioner and adjudicators, as well as by court cases. Public bodies that apply exceptions without ensuring that they have met each condition required by FIPPA do so at their peril.
F15-09-MS Jun 29, 2015 Daughter seeking closure on mother's death asks for ambulance report An elderly woman who was taken to hospital by ambulance died there a few days later. To better under... more
An elderly woman who was taken to hospital by ambulance died there a few days later. To better understand what had happened, her daughter requested a copy of the ambulance crew report. The BC Ambulance Service withheld the report as an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy under s. 22 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The daughter asked us to review that decision.
F15-08-MS Jun 10, 2015 Treasury board submissions withheld from ENGO applicant An environmental non-governmental organization (ENGO), concerned about what it believed to be ill-co... more
An environmental non-governmental organization (ENGO), concerned about what it believed to be ill-considered energy policies of the administration in office, requested draft plans for a proposed energy distribution line. The ministry responded by withholding the responsive records in their entirety, save for headings identifying them as Treasury Board submissions, citing s. 12 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which requires a public body to refuse to disclose information that would reveal the substance of deliberations of the Executive Council (Cabinet) or any of its committees.
F15-07-MS Jun 2, 2015 Two ministries ask for time extensions, with differing results An applicant asked a ministry for records related to her job application and the hiring process. The... more
An applicant asked a ministry for records related to her job application and the hiring process. The ministry did not respond within the 30 business-day deadline set by s. 7 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”) and then extended the time limit, citing its authority to do so under s. 10. She complained to us that the extension seemed unjustified.
F15-06-MS May 26, 2015 Float-plane operator seeks information about competitor's water lease application A float-plane company was concerned a competitor might gain an advantage if the city approved a new ... more
A float-plane company was concerned a competitor might gain an advantage if the city approved a new water lease adjacent to its own operations. The owner requested meeting minutes of a city council committee that was reviewing the proposed lease, as well as reports presented during the meeting.
F15-05-MS May 5, 2015 Student requests questions and answers from failed exam A student who failed an exam at a business school operated by a university later asked for a copy of... more
A student who failed an exam at a business school operated by a university later asked for a copy of the exam questions as well as the multiple-choice answers he had been given. The university denied his request under s. 3(1)(d) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”). He asked us to review that decision.
F15-04-MS Apr 28, 2015 Municipal watchdog requests engineering report on soil stability A municipality decided to build a community centre and needed to determine that the soil at the chos... more
A municipality decided to build a community centre and needed to determine that the soil at the chosen location could support the structure. The engineering consultant hired to assess the situation prepared a comprehensive report that then became the subject of an access request by a resident. The applicant was a structural expert and wanted to satisfy himself that the report dealt adequately with the issue of soil stability.
F15-03-MS Apr 21, 2015 Accused man wants police file after completion of prosecution An applicant facing a criminal charge requested a copy of the police file related to his arrest. The... more
An applicant facing a criminal charge requested a copy of the police file related to his arrest. The police department denied his request because it was related to a prosecution that had not yet been completed. He asked us to review the decision to deny him access.
F15-02-MS Apr 14, 2015 Applicant requests minutes from a governing body’s in camera meeting An applicant asked us to review the decision of a governing body of an occupation that declined his ... more
An applicant asked us to review the decision of a governing body of an occupation that declined his request for a copy of the minutes of a meeting of one of its committees.
F15-01-MS Apr 7, 2015 City councillor names FOI requester during public meeting During a public meeting, a city councillor mentioned by name a citizen who had made a number of requ... more
During a public meeting, a city councillor mentioned by name a citizen who had made a number of requests for information to the city. The disclosure led to several references to the requester in the local paper as well as a complaint to our office by the requester that the city had inappropriately disclosed his personal information in contravention of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”).
F12-01-MS Nov 26, 2012 Summary of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s Investigation of the breach of personal information at the British Columbia Institute of Technology In June, 2012 during an audit of its information systems, the British Columbia Institute of Technolo... more
In June, 2012 during an audit of its information systems, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) discovered an anomaly on one of its servers. Further investigation revealed that the server had been accessed by an unknown intruder in the early months of 2012. The server stored and processed information related to the Student Health Services Medical Clinic.
F10-09-MS May 12, 2010 City withholds Minutes of Council Meeting, Including In Camera Motion A city denied an applicant’s request for minutes from a public council meeting that had taken place ... more
A city denied an applicant’s request for minutes from a public council meeting that had taken place in the absence of the public, including the particulars of the motion that was voted on and the voting record. At this meeting, the city renewed the City Manager’s contract. In withholding the records, the city applied s. 12(3) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which permits a discretionary refusal to withhold records related to local public body confidences.
F10-08-MS Apr 12, 2010 Public Servants Exchange Advice on Dealing with a Difficult Citizen A man engaged in litigation with a health authority over a dispute about water samples made a freedo... more
A man engaged in litigation with a health authority over a dispute about water samples made a freedom of information request for records related to the dispute.
F10-06-MS Mar 1, 2010 Narrowed Request Helps Police Locate Additional Information Individuals requesting their personal information from public bodies or private organizations with w... more
Individuals requesting their personal information from public bodies or private organizations with which they have had many dealings increase their chances of obtaining effective results by being as clear as possible about what it is they are looking for and, whenever possible, providing dates and similar markers that can help the organization to expedite the process by narrowing the search.
F10-05-MS Feb 22, 2010 Recommendations Brief, Action Plan Lengthy, Records Complete A man who asked a ministry for records relating to an investigation of a workplace conflict was plea... more
A man who asked a ministry for records relating to an investigation of a workplace conflict was pleased that, as a result of our review of the ministry’s response to him, more records were released.
F10-04-MS Feb 15, 2010 Clarification Confirms Completeness of Building Project Records A developer asked us to review a municipality’s response to his request for records relating to a bu... more
A developer asked us to review a municipality’s response to his request for records relating to a building project in which he had an interest. He told us the records did not contain all the information he expected would be relevant to his request.
F10-03-MS Feb 8, 2010 Frustrated Researcher Finally Strikes Pay-dirt on Public Body Website By narrowing requests for information to the bare essentials, individuals can often save themselves ... more
By narrowing requests for information to the bare essentials, individuals can often save themselves and public bodies a great deal of time and effort and obtain a desired result without frustrating delay.
F10-02-MS Jan 18, 2010 Municipality Replaces Inaccurate Fee Estimate with Full Waiver The drafters of FIPPA wanted to preclude the possibility exorbitant fees being used as a de facto wa... more
The drafters of FIPPA wanted to preclude the possibility exorbitant fees being used as a de facto way of blocking access requests. They recognized as well that provision should be made for reasonable fees both to reflect the time and expense of responding to access requests and to guard against abuses of the right of access. FIPPA describes a middle ground that seems to work well for the most part.
F10-01-MS Jan 11, 2010 Health Authority Denies Having Custody of Care Facility Records FIPPA specifically provides, in section 3, that it applies to all records in the custody of or under... more
FIPPA specifically provides, in section 3, that it applies to all records in the custody of or under the control of a public body. What sounds, in theory, like something that would be easy to determine is often much more elusive in practice.
F09-19-MS Nov 24, 2009 College Extends Response Time Limit to Consult with Registrants A patient asked a regulatory college for records concerning a complaint he had made about a college ... more
A patient asked a regulatory college for records concerning a complaint he had made about a college registrant. When the college failed to respond within the 30 business-day deadline set by section 7 of FIPPA and extended the time limit, the patient complained to us about what he considered an unjustified time extension.
F09-18-MS Nov 3, 2009 Reporter Requests Electronic Records, Gets Paper Response A newspaper reporter sent identical requests to eight municipal police departments asking for record... more
A newspaper reporter sent identical requests to eight municipal police departments asking for records relating to police salaries. In each case, he asked that the responsive records be provided in Microsoft Excel so he could include them in a searchable database he was constructing. Five of the police departments sent him the records in Excel as requested; the other three provided paper copies, without explanation. The reporter complained to us that the three police departments had not responded appropriately to his request.
F09-17-MS Oct 16, 2009 Ministry Misses Mark Describing Solicitor-Client Exception A man asked for a copy of notes taken in a meeting at which a labour relations issue was discussed. ... more
A man asked for a copy of notes taken in a meeting at which a labour relations issue was discussed. The ministry sent him all but the last paragraph, which it explained consisted of notes from a different unrelated meeting and was therefore outside the scope of the request.
F09-16-MS Sep 21, 2009 Sidewalk Victim’s Lawyer Requests City’s Complaint Files After tripping and hurting herself on a city sidewalk, a woman consulted a lawyer, who advised suing... more
After tripping and hurting herself on a city sidewalk, a woman consulted a lawyer, who advised suing. The lawyer gave a notice of damages to the municipality under section 286 of the Local Government Act and six months later asked the municipality for copies of any records it had about complaints made about the sidewalk and repairs made to it. The municipality complied, but withheld four pages under section 14 of FIPPA, which provides discretionary authority for a public body to withhold information subject to solicitor-client privilege. The lawyer asked us to review the decision to withhold the four pages.
F09-15-MS Aug 24, 2009 Administrative Emails Are Not Policy Advice A woman involved in a labour relations dispute with her former employer asked the employer for copie... more
A woman involved in a labour relations dispute with her former employer asked the employer for copies of the records related to the dispute. The former employer provided some records but denied access to other information, citing the exceptions to the general right of access under sections 13, 14 and 22 of FIPPA.
F09-14-MS Aug 17, 2009 Accident Witness Consents to Release of Identity A fire department received an access request as a result of its quick response to a motor vehicle ac... more
A fire department received an access request as a result of its quick response to a motor vehicle accident. By the time the police arrived later, some key witnesses and one of the drivers had vanished.
F09-13-MS Jul 15, 2009 Frustrated Researcher Finally Strikes Pay-dirt on Public Body Website By narrowing requests for information to the bare essentials, individuals can often save themselves ... more
By narrowing requests for information to the bare essentials, individuals can often save themselves and public bodies a great deal of time and effort and obtained a desired result without frustrating delay.
F09-12-MS Jun 9, 2009 Workers’ Compensation Claimant Seeks Identity of Confidential Informant A WorkSafe BC (formerly Workers’ Compensation Board) claimant demanded to know who had provided info... more
A WorkSafe BC (formerly Workers’ Compensation Board) claimant demanded to know who had provided information about him that, he assumed, led WorkSafe BC to reject his claim as being fraudulent. He asked us to review WorkSafe’s decision to withhold the informant’s identity on the grounds of confidentiality.
F09-11-MS Jun 1, 2009 Accentuating the Positive?Municipality Severs Only Negatives from Audit Report A newspaper reporter requested a copy of a corporate audit a municipality had conducted on the effec... more
A newspaper reporter requested a copy of a corporate audit a municipality had conducted on the effectiveness of its administrative operations. The municipality cited section 22 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in redacting all of the negative comments in the report, including its findings and recommendations. The positive comments were released.
F09-10-MS May 26, 2009 Previous Viewing of Records Does not Preclude Later Right of Access A man who asked a government ministry for certain records within a specific date range later complai... more
A man who asked a government ministry for certain records within a specific date range later complained that the ministry had not responded accurately and completely and had not provided sufficient reasons for refusing access to some of the requested records.
F09-09-MS May 11, 2009 Rationale for Withholding Information Fails with Third Party Consent to Disclosure The “mandatory” exceptions to disclosure in some sections of the Freedom of Information and Protecti... more
The “mandatory” exceptions to disclosure in some sections of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, such as sections 21 and 22, do not apply if an affected third party consents to the disclosure. Too often, in our experience, public bodies fail to consider requesting consent for release of a third party’s personal information before applying the exception they understand to be mandatory.
F09-08-MS Apr 14, 2009 Councillor Buries Narrow Objective in Broad Request The common complaint we hear that public bodies are overzealous in their severing of requested recor... more
The common complaint we hear that public bodies are overzealous in their severing of requested records has a flip side––requesters all too frequently ask for far more information than they really want. Considerable time and effort (on the part of both public bodies and our office) could be saved if requesters consistently narrowed the focus of their access requests to their true objective. Sometimes requesters cast their net broadly in the belief that they are more likely to get what they want if they aren’t specific about their target. Requesters are far more likely to get a timely response with a narrow focus.
F09-07-MS Apr 6, 2009 Public Scrutiny Overrides Privacy Considerations about Job Competition Information For several years a public body had proactively disclosed to the union with which it had a collectiv... more
For several years a public body had proactively disclosed to the union with which it had a collective agreement a list of the union members who had competed for each job competition, their seniority, the identity of the winner of the competition and his or her seniority. However, in the fall of 2007 the public body decided that for “privacy reasons” it could no longer disclose that information to the union.
F10-07-MS Mar 29, 2009 Law Enforcement Purpose Justifies Collection without Notification A woman complained that a regulatory agency—a public body under FIPPA—had contacted third parties wi... more
A woman complained that a regulatory agency—a public body under FIPPA—had contacted third parties without her knowledge as part of an investigation it was conducting about her. The agency confirmed to us that it had indeed contacted third parties and collected personal information about the woman without her knowledge or consent.
F09-06-MS Mar 23, 2009 Complaint Letter about Co-worker Not a Law Enforcement Matter In the course of carrying out her duty to monitor a ministry’s contractors, an employee of the minis... more
In the course of carrying out her duty to monitor a ministry’s contractors, an employee of the ministry found out that one of them had written a letter of complaint about her to the ministry’s regional manager.
F09-05-MS Mar 17, 2009 Incomplete Release Package Triggers Suspicion of Incomplete Search A public body employee, dissatisfied with his employer’s investigation of an incident involving hims... more
A public body employee, dissatisfied with his employer’s investigation of an incident involving himself and another employee, requested access to records related to the incident.
F09-04-MS Feb 17, 2009 Reporter Probes for Details on Allegations of Unprofessional Behaviour A member of the press asked a health professional college for copies of reports containing allegatio... more
A member of the press asked a health professional college for copies of reports containing allegations of unprofessional behaviour by college registrants and a description of what had been done to address the allegations.
F09-03-MS Feb 2, 2009 Patient Reporter Rewarded with City Severance Agreements A city denied a newspaper reporter access to copies of the severance agreements for two senior emplo... more
A city denied a newspaper reporter access to copies of the severance agreements for two senior employees, reasoning that one was not yet finalized and withholding the other citing section 17 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act as its release might compromise the negotiation of the yet to be finalized agreement.
F09-02-MS Jan 19, 2009 Liquor Distribution Branch Denies Access to Store Lease Details In response to a request for records showing the terms of a lease between a shopping mall landlord a... more
In response to a request for records showing the terms of a lease between a shopping mall landlord and a government liquor store, the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) provided a copy of the lease but refused to disclose three of its terms, including the lease amount, citing sections 17 and 21 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
F09-01-MS Jan 12, 2009 Hospital Withholds Staff Signature Sheets A man concerned about the quality of his treatment during a series of hospitalizations asked the hos... more
A man concerned about the quality of his treatment during a series of hospitalizations asked the hospital for copies of his health records. The hospital withheld only copies of sheets routinely signed by staff to record their signatures to create a running record of staff interactions with patients.
F08-07-MS Mar 26, 2008 Man Demands Minutes of School Board Meetings Discussing School Closure A man concerned about the scheduled closing of the school in his neighbourhood asked the School Boar... more
A man concerned about the scheduled closing of the school in his neighbourhood asked the School Board to give him all the information used to make the decision. In his request for the records, he indicated his understanding that several discussions on which schools should be considered for closing had been held at in camera (not open to the public) meetings.
F08-06-MS Mar 13, 2008 Laptop Theft Illustrates Need for Security Policy for Portable Storage Devices A laptop containing sensitive medical information was stolen from a public body’s contracted agency.... more
A laptop containing sensitive medical information was stolen from a public body’s contracted agency. The personal information of 53 families on the laptop was neither encrypted nor password protected. The public body owning the laptop reported the theft to the police and sent reminders to staff about the physical security policies of the workplace and building.
F08-05-MS Feb 26, 2008 Relative of Murder Victim Seeks 50-Year-Old Records of Police Interviews A man asked a police department for records related to the murder more than 50 years ago of an exten... more
A man asked a police department for records related to the murder more than 50 years ago of an extended family member, which the police had solved within months of the killing.
F08-04-MS Feb 14, 2008 Opinion about Applicant belongs to Applicant A public body disclosed to an applicant a severed copy of a letter the public body received about th... more
A public body disclosed to an applicant a severed copy of a letter the public body received about the applicant. The released portion identified the author of the letter, but the author’s opinions about the applicant were severed. The applicant asked our office to review the public body’s decision to withhold that information.
F08-03-MS Jan 29, 2008 Survey Plans Go Awry with Disclosure of Client Names to US-based Service Provider A manager at a public body contracted a US-based service provider to conduct client surveys and late... more
A manager at a public body contracted a US-based service provider to conduct client surveys and later emailed the personal information of nearly 10,000 clients to the US service provider to meet its need for survey participants. The service provider then mailed the clients a letter inviting them to visit a US-based website to complete the survey.
F08-02-MS Jan 15, 2008 Public Body Denies Parent’s Request for “Capable” Child’s Medical Records A parent who believed a public body had not provided competent medical treatment to the parent’s ado... more
A parent who believed a public body had not provided competent medical treatment to the parent’s adolescent child asked the public body for records relating to the treatment. The public body refused to grant access to the medical records without the child’s authorization since the child was capable of giving consent to medical treatment under section 17 of the Infants Act. The minor child would not authorize the public body to disclose medical records to the applicant.
F08-01-MS Jan 10, 2008 Health Authority Demands Proof of Law Enforcement Status A conservation officer sent an email to a health authority requesting information from a health insp... more
A conservation officer sent an email to a health authority requesting information from a health inspector who had initially attended the scene of a raw sewage spill. The conservation officer was conducting a separate investigation under section 6(4) of the Environmental Management Act, which makes it illegal to “introduce waste into the environment in such a manner as to cause pollution”. The health inspector refused to provide the information directly and told the conservation officer to submit an FOI request.
F07-25-MS Dec 17, 2007 Law Graduate Stymied in Request for Year and Class Rankings A recent law school graduate requested two pieces of information from the university where he had ob... more
A recent law school graduate requested two pieces of information from the university where he had obtained his degree:
F07-24-MS Dec 12, 2007 In Whose Custody Is a Diary on a Work Computer? A public body employee complained that someone in the office had improperly accessed records on his ... more
A public body employee complained that someone in the office had improperly accessed records on his work computer, including a diary and a private letter. The public body was unable to confirm or deny whether the employee’s computer had been improperly accessed because it did not have an audit trail on the computer at the time of the alleged incident.
F07-23-MS Dec 5, 2007 Municipality on Solid Ground withholding Consultant’s Report reporter asked us to review a municipality’s decision to withhold from him a copy of a consultant’s ... more
reporter asked us to review a municipality’s decision to withhold from him a copy of a consultant’s report released to council in an in-camera meeting.
F07-22-MS Oct 11, 2007 Tempers Flare over Building Encroachment on Parkland The renovation of a rural house left the neighbours up in arms when it was discovered that a corner ... more
The renovation of a rural house left the neighbours up in arms when it was discovered that a corner of the building encroached on parkland and blocked a trail to the beach. Several people wrote to the ministry administering the park to complain about the infringement and demanded that the owner of the house relocate the portion of the structure that had strayed outside her property. She responded that the encroachment was entirely accidental.
F07-21-MS Jul 17, 2007 Release of Economic Model Could Harm Public Body’s Negotiating Position An applicant asked a public body for a copy of an “electronic model” that was used, during the devel... more
An applicant asked a public body for a copy of an “electronic model” that was used, during the development of a public sector infrastructure project, to make comparisons between the costs of a project utilizing the traditional “design/build” contracts and the costs of the same project utilizing “design/build/finance/operate” contracts, which are characteristic of a public private partnership (P3). The public body refused to disclose the electronic model, saying it fell under FIPPA’s section 17 exception to the right of access to information.
F07-20-MS Jun 26, 2007 ICBC Severing Meets Litigation Privilege Test A lawyer made an access request to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia for the claim file ... more
A lawyer made an access request to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia for the claim file of a client who had been involved in a motor vehicle accident. ICBC provided a copy of the file but withheld a considerable amount of information under sections 14, 17 and 22 of FIPPA.
F07-19-MS Jun 19, 2007 Patient Challenges Decision to Discontinue Drug Coverage A man was dismayed to learn out that the Ministry of Health was discontinuing coverage of a drug pre... more
A man was dismayed to learn out that the Ministry of Health was discontinuing coverage of a drug prescribed by his doctor. When he questioned the change, he was told that a rigorous literature review by a panel of health care professionals had determined there was insufficient evidence to show that people taking the drug experienced any real benefit.
F07-18-MS Jun 12, 2007 Lawyer Challenges Inconsistent Practices in the Release of Witness Information The lawyer for a woman involved in a motor vehicle accident requested a review of a police departmen... more
The lawyer for a woman involved in a motor vehicle accident requested a review of a police department’s response to his request for records related to the accident. He wanted to know if information about charges against the other driver had been withheld, and he also expressed concern that police departments appeared to have no standard policy regarding the release of contact information of witnesses – some police he had dealt with supplied only the addresses of witnesses, others only phone numbers, and in other cases no contact information at all.
F07-17-MS May 29, 2007 No-copying Edict Sidetracks Access Request A fired employee complained she had been the victim of unreasonable discrimination. Her public body ... more
A fired employee complained she had been the victim of unreasonable discrimination. Her public body employer told her that her grievance didn’t meet the requirements for consideration under the public body’s internal human rights complaint process. The woman appealed this decision and in addition made an access to information request for all internal communications about her.
F07-16-MS Apr 25, 2007 Student Seeks Information on Campus Security Helpers A student attending night classes made frequent use of a “safe walk” program that provided a campus ... more
A student attending night classes made frequent use of a “safe walk” program that provided a campus security escort to the parking lot or bus stop. Campus security staff also helped her when some of her belongings were stolen. Four years later, the student asked the college to give her copies of the records documenting the assistance provided to her.
F07-15-MS Apr 17, 2007 Water District’s Aquifer Study Not Exempt as Advice to a Public Body A resident of a water district was concerned that new housing developments risked depleting the aqui... more
A resident of a water district was concerned that new housing developments risked depleting the aquifer that supplied the community to the point that future water supplies might be jeopardized. Wanting to obtain more information to determine whether his concerns were justified, he asked the district for a copy of a hydrogeological study of the aquifer it had commissioned some time previously. When the district responded that it had decided to withhold the study under sections 13 and 17 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the resident asked us to intervene, as he felt that the contents of the study were a matter of public interest and the public had a right to know what it said.
F07-14-MS Apr 11, 2007 City Responds in Time, but Reasoning for Refusing Access Shaky A man who emailed an access to information request to a city for internal correspondence complained ... more
A man who emailed an access to information request to a city for internal correspondence complained that the city had not responded to his request in time, had not provided a reason for withholding one record and had not advised him of his right to ask our office to review the city’s response.
F07-13-MS Apr 5, 2007 Refined Calculation Reduces Fee Estimate for Engineering Records A lawyer acting for an unnamed client made two different access to information requests to a regiona... more
A lawyer acting for an unnamed client made two different access to information requests to a regional district for information related to a major water filtration project. In both cases the regional district responded with fee estimates and requested payment of a deposit of 50% as a condition of processing the requests.
F07-12-MS Mar 20, 2007 Child Neglect Complainant Assured of Confidentiality A complaint about child neglect sparked an investigation by the Ministry of Children and Family Deve... more
A complaint about child neglect sparked an investigation by the Ministry of Children and Family Development and a visit to the family’s home by ministry social workers. Upset by the complaint, the parents filed an access request for records related to the investigation.
F07-11-MS Mar 12, 2007 Reluctant Witness Brings Assault Trial to a Halt The judge and jury had been selected and court dates had been scheduled for an assault trial when Cr... more
The judge and jury had been selected and court dates had been scheduled for an assault trial when Crown counsel discovered that an important prosecution witness had decided not to cooperate. When a special prosecutor concluded that there was little chance of conviction without the testimony of the reluctant witness, the judge ordered a stay of proceedings.
F07-10-MS Mar 6, 2007 Accused Demands Accuser’s Name on Bylaw Complaint Tempers may flare when someone complains to city hall about bylaw infractions such as excessive nois... more
Tempers may flare when someone complains to city hall about bylaw infractions such as excessive noise or an unsightly mess on a property. Human nature being what it is, the accused very often demands the identity of the accuser, either to set the record straight or vent angry feelings. Almost without exception, municipalities refuse to provide information that would identify an informant on the ground that disclosing it would reveal the identity of a confidential source of law enforcement information (section 15(1)(d), Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) or that the personal information was supplied in confidence (section 22(2)(f)).
F07-09-MS Feb 26, 2007 Releasing Video Would Reveal Test Methodology The parent of a child who had been given a psychological test asked the hospital that had conducted ... more
The parent of a child who had been given a psychological test asked the hospital that had conducted the test for a copy of the filmed assessment. The hospital replied that it was unable to grant access as the digital video recording was outside the scope of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, being “a record of a question that is to be used on an examination or test” under section 3(1)(d).
F07-08-MS Feb 20, 2007 Cold Shoulder for Fee Waiver Request Gives Way to Lukewarm Embrace A storm of controversy surrounded a proposal to develop a mine near a town. Because of the nature of... more
A storm of controversy surrounded a proposal to develop a mine near a town. Because of the nature of the proposed operation, residents expressed grave concerns about the potential for air and water pollution in the surrounding area. A community group that strongly opposed the development made an access request to a provincial government ministry for all records related to the mine approval process.
F07-07-MS Feb 13, 2007 Health Authority Goes Extra Mile Searching for Records A health care worker asked his former employer, a health authority, for all records created within a... more
A health care worker asked his former employer, a health authority, for all records created within a specified time-frame and containing his personal information. He particularly wanted information that contained comments on the quality of his character or that related to his job applications within the health authority or his job performance. He named various types of records and a number of health authority employees he had communicated with as possible sources of records.
F07-06-MS Feb 6, 2007 Privacy in Public Spaces: Employer Withholds Surveillance Video Shot on City Street After suffering an injury, a municipal worker took absences to recuperate. When the absences continu... more
After suffering an injury, a municipal worker took absences to recuperate. When the absences continued after a long period of time, the employer began to suspect the worker of malingering. Rumours that he was running a business on the side, selling items on city streets, simply heightened the suspicion. In preparation for possible disciplinary measures, the employer hired a private investigator to track and, in some cases, film the worker’s movements.
F07-05-MS Jan 29, 2007 Lawyer Stymied in Hunt for Power Consumption Stats A criminal lawyer who had occasional clients in the plant cultivation business concluded it might be... more
A criminal lawyer who had occasional clients in the plant cultivation business concluded it might be a useful strategy to find out how much the amount of residential electrical consumption for residences varied over time. He asked the city to send him the monthly average electrical consumption for residential homes over a two-year period, as well as the yearly average.
F07-04-MS Jan 22, 2007 White-out Strikes Out as Severing Tool A man in a battle with neighbours over property borders asked the regional district for copies of co... more
A man in a battle with neighbours over property borders asked the regional district for copies of correspondence it had received from the neighbours. In due course, he received a package of records with a note that some information had been severed under section 22 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act because disclosing it would be an unreasonable invasion of the neighbours’ personal privacy.
F07-03-MS Jan 15, 2007 Two Police Departments Set Tight Requirements for FIPPA Access Concerned about a suspected fraud, the board of a housing co-op complained to the local police depar... more
Concerned about a suspected fraud, the board of a housing co-op complained to the local police department. The police responded that they could only take a complaint from an individual, so the board appointed one of the directors of the co-op to file the complaint.
F07-02-MS Jan 8, 2007 Mother Requests Hospital Records to Find Out How Son Died The mother of a young man who died in hospital wanted to find out the cause of death and how long he... more
The mother of a young man who died in hospital wanted to find out the cause of death and how long her son had had to wait in Emergency for treatment. The health authority in charge of the hospital said it couldn’t give her any information because her son had indicated his next-of-kin was his common-law wife, but she had moved right after the death and neither the hospital nor the mother had been able to contact her to see if she would consent to the hospital releasing information about how and why the man had died.
F07-01-MS Jan 2, 2007 Woman with Hereditary Disease Seeks Father’s Medical History A woman who had been adopted as an infant contracted a disease that she learned was frequently hered... more
A woman who had been adopted as an infant contracted a disease that she learned was frequently hereditary. Wanting to ensure that her children had the best health information available, she decided to try to find out the identity of her biological father. So she filed an access request for all records related to her adoption.
F06-11-MS Dec 13, 2006 Adopted Child Seeks Medical History of Natural Parents A woman requested a review of a decision by the Ministry of Children and Family Development to withh... more
A woman requested a review of a decision by the Ministry of Children and Family Development to withhold certain information in the records related to her adoption. She also expressed concern that some pages of the copies sent to her were of such poor quality as to be illegible.
F06-10-MS Dec 4, 2006 Thorough City Search Turns Up Everything but Emails The applicant asked a city for all records relating to its approval of a covenant restricting the us... more
The applicant asked a city for all records relating to its approval of a covenant restricting the use of three multi-unit complexes to rental only for 10 years. The complexes had been converted to condominiums and sold as individual units within the 10-year period to which the applicant believed the covenant applied. The city produced records in three phases from its legal department, its housing department and the city clerk’s office. A search of the real estate department failed to produce any records. The applicant complained that the search was not adequate.
F06-09-MS Nov 21, 2006 Job Applicant Objects to Personal Details on Driver’s Abstract An applicant for a job involving driving was asked to attach his driver’s abstract with his resume. ... more
An applicant for a job involving driving was asked to attach his driver’s abstract with his resume. The driver’s abstract provides a synopsis of a person’s driving history. He later complained to us that the driver’s abstract produced by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia unnecessarily includes, in addition to a person’s driving history, personal information such as age, sex and race, which a firm could conceivably use as an excuse not to hire someone.
F06-08-MS Nov 14, 2006 Victim of Dog Attack Demands Witnesses’ Names A victim of dog attack made an access request to a municipal police force for the records contained ... more
A victim of dog attack made an access request to a municipal police force for the records contained in the police file created as a result of the attack. The police released all of the requested records, including the attacking dog owner’s name because it was already known to the applicant, except the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses or suspects. This information was withheld under section 22(3)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which authorizes the withholding of personal information if it was compiled and is identifiable as part of an investigation into a possible violation of law.
F06-07-MS Oct 30, 2006 Why Accusers Deserve Privacy: The Case of the Barking Dogs A couple in the BC interior who provided periodic dog-sitting and grooming services were surprised t... more
A couple in the BC interior who provided periodic dog-sitting and grooming services were surprised to be paid a visit by their regional district’s bylaw enforcement officer. The officer told them he was investigating a complaint that they were running a boarding kennel without a licence and that dogs were constantly barking on their property. Two days later, the officer sent them a letter notifying them that they had 30 days to close the operation. Later, following a second inspection, the bylaw enforcement officer became satisfied that the couple was not in fact boarding dogs overnight and withdrew the long arm of the law.
F06-06-MS Oct 23, 2006 Privacy & Accuracy: The Book of Names and Addresses A man who went to a public meeting organized by a municipality was surprised to see another citizen ... more
A man who went to a public meeting organized by a municipality was surprised to see another citizen pick up the book listing speakers and begin writing down their names and addresses. He complained to the municipality about the apparent lack of security for people’s personal information and found the response unsatisfactory.
F06-05-MS Oct 16, 2006 Ministry Cites Security Reasons for Withholding Security Audit A reporter asked a ministry for a copy of a security threat and risk review report done by an intern... more
A reporter asked a ministry for a copy of a security threat and risk review report done by an internal audit unit of the ministry. The report dealt with potential security risks to a government-wide computer network.
F06-04-MS Oct 10, 2006 Persistent Lawyer Gets ICBC Engineering Records A lawyer representing a driver involved in an accident at a four-way stop asked ICBC for copies of a... more
A lawyer representing a driver involved in an accident at a four-way stop asked ICBC for copies of all records related to his client’s accident. After receiving the records, the lawyer complained to our office that ICBC had not searched for all the records that were responsive to his request. We opened an “adequate search” complaint file to investigate whether ICBC had fulfilled its obligation to conduct a “complete” search for records under section 6 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
F06-03-MS Oct 2, 2006 Rejected Arts Grant Applicant Demands Names of Jury A Vancouver theatre group applied for a grant from the Spirit of BC Arts Fund, a BC government progr... more
A Vancouver theatre group applied for a grant from the Spirit of BC Arts Fund, a BC government program intended to assist creative projects that contribute to the development of arts and culture in the province. After their application was rejected, the group wrote to the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts requesting a list of names of all the advisory committee members who adjudicated the application, all documents pertaining to the refusal of the application and all other documents written by administrators that might pertain to the application.
F06-02-MS Sep 25, 2006 Wallet Stolen, Woman’s Credit Rating Goes South Identity theft has reached pandemic proportions. Shredder sales have been very brisk in the last few... more
Identity theft has reached pandemic proportions. Shredder sales have been very brisk in the last few years as people take whatever precautions they can to protect their personal financial information from dumpster-diving thieves. And if your wallet goes AWOL, you may need to report the loss of your cards without delay to avoid serious consequences.
F06-01-MS Sep 18, 2006 A Privacy Breach in Every Double-stuffed Envelope As a result of human error in the mail sorting room, a public body inadvertently double stuffed enve... more
As a result of human error in the mail sorting room, a public body inadvertently double stuffed envelopes containing medical test results. The individuals receiving the envelopes received their own results and one other person’s results. In total, 477 reports were inappropriately disclosed.