With just two months until the next provincial election, the governing BC Liberals have introduced new “duty to document” legislation stemming from reports into so-called “triple deleting.”
That practice is named after a scandal in which provincial government officials deleted potentially sensitive documents, and in some cases only communicated orally without a paper record existing.
Now, the BC Liberals are announcing legislation which they say would legally bar officials from doing so.
The province says the Information Management Amendment Act would address recommendations made by former privacy commissioner David Loukidelis in the wake of the triple delete scandal.
In a release, the government says the bill will require public servants to create records documenting key business decisions of government.
That requirement is to be carried out through a beefed up Chief Records Officer position, who will have authority to “undertake reviews of government’s information management practices and make recommendations for improvement.”
But Vincent Gogolek of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association says the legislation doesn’t go nearly far enough.
“It’s not even half measures, it’s not even a duty. A duty is “thou shalt.” That’s not what they’re doing. It’s, the chief information officer has the discretion to provide guidance to ministries. I mean that’s not a duty.”
But Finance Minister Mike de Jong says he disagrees.
“It’s the first time any jurisdiction in the country has endeavoured to codify the obligation to keep these records. I guess I disagree with him.”
With files from the Canadian Press