The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. (OIPC) will be conducting an audit of the City of Vancouver’s access to information policy.
Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says the audit is not the result of a specific complaint but is a proactive look at B.C.’s largest municipality.
“In four of the last five years,” Denham says, “the City of Vancouver ranked among public bodies with the highest number of complaints and access to information appeals received by this Office.”
The investigation comes on the heels of a scathing report revealing B.C. government staff deliberately deleted emails, and then lied about it under oath. The emails involve the investigation into missing and murdered aboriginal women along B.C.’s so-called ‘Highway of Tears’.
The City of Vancouver is aware of the audit but maintains the city policy is to provide timely responses to all Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made.
Deputy mayor Andrea Reimer says the city never delete emails.
“To be clear there is no investigation; this is a proactive audit to make sure the proper procedures and systems are in place,” Reimer said.
WATCH: Vaughn Palmer dissects City of Vancouver’s deleted emails controversy
According to Bob Mackin, a local journalist who regularly files FOI requests with the city, Vancouver’s track record isn’t great. He recently complained to the OIPC because requests were regularly coming back with no response.
The privacy commissioner’s report indicates Mike Magee, the chief of staff to the mayor, regularly deletes his emails en masse.
Mackin says “once a week Magee purges his inbox of all emails. That is against city policy.”
Mackin’s complaint was dismissed by the OIPC. The commissioner’s findings showed the city did their due diligence to respond to Mackin’s FOI request.
Once the audit is finished, the results will be posted to the OIPC website.
Here is a list of FOI requests provided by the City of Vancouver.