Background: What is FOIPPA
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) has two main purposes:
- To make public bodies more accountable by providing the public with a right of access to records, subject to limited exceptions; and
- To protect personal privacy by prohibiting the unauthorized collection, use, disclosure, access or storage of personal information by public bodies.
FOIPPA covers over 2,900 public bodies, including government ministries and many government agencies, boards, commissions and Crown corporations. It also covers “local public bodies” including municipalities, universities and colleges, school boards, and health authorities, as well as self-governing bodies of professions such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Law Society of British Columbia.
FOIPPA gives any person the right to access records held by a public body, including their own personal information, as long as they request the information in accordance with the Act’s provisions. The only qualification to this right is that the right does not extend to information excepted from disclosure under Part 2 of the Act (for example, someone else’s personal information). In addition to Freedom of Information (FOI), FOIPPA compels public bodies to make information publicly available without the need for a FOI request.
FOIPPA also protects personal privacy by specifying requirements for how public bodies must collect, use, and disclose personal information. These requirements, which also include reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy and security, retention requirements, and a right to request correction of personal information, are based on a set of internationally accepted fair information practices.