City of Victoria way out of line on “Section 43” app

(Victoria, 1 October 2012) – IntegrityBC is calling on the City of Victoria to withdraw its application to restrict the number of access-to-information requests that are being made by three individuals working for Victoria’s Focus Magazine.

According to city officials, the Section 43 application (under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) is warranted because the individuals have purportedly filed 49 requests related to the Johnson Street Bridge Replacement Project since 2009.

It may be the first time that such an application has been made against a media outlet in the province.

IntegrityBC believes that the city’s objections are insufficient for a Section 43 authorization which is intended to address “repetitious or systematic” requests or requests that are “frivolous or vexatious.”

The Johnson Street Bridge replacement is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the city, at an estimated cost of $92.8 million.

“It is entirely reasonable for a citizen or a media outlet to seek information on the project as it moves forward from conception to construction to completion,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis.

“Access to Information laws were not introduced because people trusted government, but rather because people are naturally sceptical of government, and often with good reason,” said Travis.

“Going to the extraordinary lengths of making a Section 43 application is an assault on the very spirit and intent of the law.”

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IntegrityBC is a non-partisan voice championing accountability and integrity in BC politics. By empowering British Columbians, IntegrityBC hopes to changes politics in BC and allow citizens to regain trust in our government.For more information:
Dermod Travis
Executive Director, IntegrityBC
250-590-5126

Notes: Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)

http://www.oipc.bc.ca/legislation/FIPPA/Freedom_of_Information_and_Protection_of_Privacy_Act(Nov2009).htm

http://www.johnsonstreetbridge.com/faqs/