On April 19, 2007, Bill 25 was introduced in the British Columbia legislature to streamline processes and permit certain disclosures under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.B.C. 1996 c. 165 (FIPPA). In British Columbia, two principal statutes regulate the privacy of information: FIPPA, which came into effect in 1993 and which both outlines privacy standards for public bodies and sets out the process by which the public can access information from these bodies; and the Personal Information Protection Act, S.B.C. 2003 c. 63 (PIPA), which came into effect in 2004 and applies to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by the private sector.

The main amendments introduced to FIPPA fall under the categories of process and disclosure as follows:

Process

Section 30.5 is added to require employees, officers, directors and service providers of a public body to notify the head of the public body of any unauthorized disclosure of personal information.

Section 11 is amended to clarify that the time period for transferring access requests between public bodies commences only once the head of the public body which received the request determines that the request is in compliance with FIPPA.

Section 44(3.1) is added to state that the commissioner can require a person to try to resolve a request for review or a complaint before an investigation is commenced or continued.

Section 47 is amended to state that the commissioner and the commissioner's staff cannot be compelled to testify about information they receive as part of their duties under FIPPA, unless it is for the prosecution of an offence under FIPPA, for proceedings conducted by an adjudicator under FIPPA, or for an application for judicial review of a decision made under FIPPA.

Section 54.1 is added to state that the commissioner may order the head of a public body to sever records that are the subject of a request for review as required by FIPPA.

Section 59.01 is added to state that an order by the commissioner has the same force and effect as an order of the British Columbia Supreme Court if it is not the subject of an application for judicial review, the date to comply with the order has passed and the period for commencing an appeal on the judicial review decision has expired.

Disclosure

Section 33.1(1) is amended to allow disclosure of personal information related to a third party's interactions with a public body, i.e., details of a licence or permit granted to a third party by a public body.

Section 36 is amended to allow school boards to disclose personal information to museums and archives for archival or historical purposes.

The full text of Bill 25

The full text of FIPPA currently in force

The BC government press release