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Rights to public information and the protection of privacy

Posted on

August 12, 1985

Eileen Dailly, M.L.A.
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

Dear Ms. Dailly:

Thank you for sending us a draft of your Private Member’s Bill M-222. Our Association fully supports the intention behind this legislation.

We are especially pleased with Section 4.2, which provides the mechanism for an individual to get a correction of any record in the Government’s possession of his or her affairs. We think that setting a time limit of 30 days for the Government’s department in question to either correct the information or advise the individual of his refusal to do so is admirable.

Our only concern with the Act as it stands is with Section 2.1, which does not set a definite time limit for the Government to provide information that is requested. All that specifies is a vague phrase “within a reasonable time thereafter”. Now, it seems to us that if 30 days is a reasonable time to gather facts, correct the document, and advise the person that this has been done, then 30 days is ample time to make a copy of the document and send it. So, we would suggest that in Section 2.1, the phrase “within a reasonable time” be amended to read “within 30 days”. In any event, the interpretation of counts as a reasonable time will be given by the Court, and it is likely that they will end up agreeing with our interpretations, so why not save some time and put it into the Act in the first place?

Except for this minor suggestion, we have no other suggestions for amendments, and you can count on our support.

Yours sincerely,

John Russell
Executive Director