A new report by British Columbia's Information and Privacy Commissioner shows the government is making significant progress in improving its response time for releasing records under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
The report, entitled It's About Time, compares provincial ministries' response times on freedom of information requests during the 2009-2010 fiscal year with the 2008 calendar year.
In her review, the commissioner found that every ministry had significantly increased the number of requests that were responded to within the 30-day time limit in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The commissioner found that:
* The number of freedom of information requests completed on time increased from 71 per cent to 90 per cent.
* General information requests went from 61 per cent on time to 89 per cent on time.
* Average response time has improved from 35 business days in 2008 to 24 business days in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
The commissioner attributes the improvements in timeliness to a range of strategies including improved supervision, better use of technology, better training and staff commitment.
In 2009-10 provincial ministries received 7,654 freedom of information requests - a 16- per cent increase from the 6,570 received in 2008-09; and closed 7,750 requests, a 29-per cent increase from the 5,999 closed in the 2008 calendar year.
The report also shows that response times to media information requests improved from 49 per cent being on time in the calendar year 2008 to 88 per cent on time for the fiscal year 2009-2010.
Response times to requests from political parties improved from 54 per cent on time for the calendar year 2008 to 90 per cent on time for the fiscal year 2009-2010.
The privacy commissioner's report is available on line at www.oipc.bc.ca