The City of White Rock has reviewed the audit report from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C., dated November 22, 2018 (the “Audit”) and has accepted the recommendations in the Audit. White Rock plans to implement the recommendations and has already made a number of improvements to its freedom of information practices since 2016/2017. For example, since the time of the Audit, the City of White Rock has taken the following actions to improve its practices:
- Hired additional staff to manage Freedom of Information (FOI) requests;
- Invested in technology to assist staff with searching for/locating records; and,
- Hired staff to improve records management practices.
The City is disappointed that the report did not include a review of the specific content of access of information requests or the difficulties faced by White Rock related to ‘frivolous or systematic’ requests pursuant to Section 43 of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), that occurred during the scope of the Audit. In 2016, and early 2017, it was necessary for White Rock to seek relief from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. on the belief that the FOI process was being abused. White Rock was granted relief pursuant to Section 43 of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) (Order F17-18).
The Audit did reveal that the City has conducted adequate searches for records, rarely applied fees, generally released records when available with little to no severing, and provided appropriate explanations when no responsive records were found and when denying access to records under a section of FOIPPA.