B.C. premier Christy Clark says her government staffers need to be more consistent when it comes to access-to-information practices.
Clark spoke in Merritt, B.C. this afternoon where she was confronted by media about a scathing report released by Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham on Thursday, suggesting two government ministries and the Office of the Premier have been implicated in questionable access-to-information practices, including failure to keep adequate email records and willful destruction of records.
Denham made 11 recommendations in her report, among them technological changes to stop employees from permanently deleting emails and mandatory training in records management.
Clark says she plans to act on Denham’s recommendations, because, so far, there has been no consistent application of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act all across her government.
Earlier today, the premier sent out a letter to her staffers directing them to keep all emails they send, regardless of whether they are transitory or not, until former privacy commissioner David Loukidelis will complete his review into how to address the commissioner’s report and enhance Freedom of Information training for staff.
“There can be conflicting views on how the rules have been applied over the decades,” said Clark in the letter. “It is my expectation that we do our utmost to follow the regulations around Freedom of Information. But, we also need to recognize that technology, as well as public expectations are evolving.”
While the commissioner’s interpretation of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act differs from that of the government, Clark says the public has an expectation that their government is transparent.
“And we will make sure that we act on those recommendations, so it is,” said Clark.