Access to Information in British Columbia

April 2016 – Late last year the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC released a report, Access Denied: Record Retention and Disposal Practices of the Government of British Columbia. Describing what has come to be called the triple delete scandal, this report detailed a government culture of avoiding the access to information process. An assistant to the Minister of Transport, George Gretes, is facing charges for his role in covering up the fact that after he received a request for records related to murdered and missing aboriginal women, he searched for them, deleted the records, and then indicated that there were no records that responded to the request. The Premier’s Deputy Chief of Staff has been deleting every email she has ever sent every day she’s been on the job – despite a previous Commissioner report into this practice. The Chief of Staff to the Minister of Advanced Education stated in response to an access request – incorrectly – that he didn’t send any emails to the Minister for half a year (he sent about one a week). We speak with Vincent Gogolek, Executive Director of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association about what happened and what’s happened since this report was released.