Magazine article Information Management

B.C. Criticized for Slow Response to FOI Requests

Magazine article Information Management

B.C. Criticized for Slow Response to FOI Requests

Article excerpt

British Columbia is too slow in responding to information requests from the public under the Freedom of Information (FOI) process, according to a government watchdog.

In his report released in February, David Loukidelis, the province's information and privacy commissioner, highlights "what can only be described as an unacceptable pattern of government-wide failure to respond to access requests in as timely a fashion as it should."

The government is required to respond within 30 business days to an FOI request. But it is late almost one-third of the time, Loukidelis found.

According to Loukidelis, the delays are at least partly caused by the province's complicated approval process--some information requires as many as 12 people to sign off before it can be released. Other factors that delay the process include poor records management and complex cross-ministry consultations, he said.

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Canwest News Service found that the government processed 5,999 FOI requests last year, with an average response time of 35 business days. Business and public bodies received on-time responses between 79% and 94% of the time. …

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