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Proactive Disclosure in Canada and British Columbia New Development in Public Body Transparency. Ian Christman, Registrar & Privacy Officer. NAMVBC 2014 CONFERENCE Baltimore, Maryland, September 27, 2013 . Overview. What is proactive disclosure Why conduct proactive disclosure

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Presentation Transcript
Proactive Disclosure in Canada and British Columbia

New Development in Public Body Transparency

Ian Christman, Registrar & Privacy Officer


Baltimore, Maryland, September 27, 2013

  • What is proactive disclosure
  • Why conduct proactive disclosure
  • Types of records to be disclosed
  • Canada & British Columbia
  • Immediate Challenges & Practical Considerations
  • What is Coming Next?
  • Questions
What is Proactive Disclosure?
  • Definition:
  • the action of making government and public body records or information available to individuals for review, without their need to make a formal access request under access legislation
  • includes disclosure logs
Why Proactive Disclosure?


The overarching purpose of access to information legislation is to facilitate democracy …ensure that citizens have the information required to participate meaningfully in the democratic process and that politicians and bureaucrats remain accountable to the citizenry.

Mr. Justice LaForest in Dagg v. Canada (Minister of Finance)

[1997] 2 S.C.R. 403 (headnote) (Supreme Court of Canada)

Why Proactive Disclosure?
  • Practical (examples):
  • Reduce access requests and costs (disclosure logs & policies and procedures)
  • Briefer and meaningful public discourse
  • Clearer expectations between industry and public body
Proactive disclosure - Canada
  • Access to Information Act – Federal
  • Summaries of access disclosures
  • Guidelines/policies used to make decisions
  • Travel and hospitality expenses of ministers and senior management
  • Awarded contracts over $10,000
  • Position reclassifications
  • Grants and Contributions over $25,000
Proactive Disclosure – B.C.
  • Government’s Open Information website:
  • Raw data that can be manipulated (DataBC)
  • Minister’s, Deputy Minister’s and senior management travel expenses
  • Salaries of all government workers
  • Disclosure logs including response letter
  • Policies and Procedures
DataBC Example

Corrections BC detailed inmate population information for in Excel format:

You can subscribe to RSS feeds and receive updates when new data becomes available.

Follow on Twitter

Disclosure Logs

Summary on the website

Response letter

Documents Disclosed

Some Immediate Challenges
  • Identifying records for proactive disclosure
  • Time and costs to review records
  • Context
  • Searchable .pdf documents versus standard .pdf
Practical Considerations
  • Personnel training, time and costs
  • Public education - available information and context
  • Website design & capacity (disclosure logs)
  • General IT considerations and costs
  • Monitoring and renewing records
  • Review records management regimes
Coming Next?
  • “Duty to Document” on government and agencies
  • Reduction in protected information, expanded public interest “paramount” over-ride rule?
  • Increased scope of proactive disclosure?