Summit Information

We have seen major shifts in the freedom of information and privacy rights landscape since our last Information Summit. This year, Information Summit 2014 will hear from experts and people intimately involved in how the world of information is changing. FIPA is pleased to bring you a variety of perspectives on the strategies being developed to meet these new challenges, and where we can expect to be in the not too distant future.

Keynote Address: Elizabeth Denham
Elizabeth Denham is the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia. Since her appointment, Denham has raised the profile of privacy rights, promoted transparency in government, and adopted a proactive approach to the enforcement of access and privacy laws in British Columbia.

Ms. Denham will speak about recent developments in access and privacy, including how the office is using 20th century laws to address 21st century challenges including new technologies, surveillance and digital record-keeping.

Panel 1: Innovation vs Transparency?
When we talk about openness and transparency, how do we make sure we aren’t privileging the desire to use new systems and aggregate data to make life easier, more efficient, and to spur economic activity, over the importance of transparency and holding government accountable? How does this work when public projects are increasingly outsourced and privatized? Where are we going with open data next?

Panel 2: John Doe: What does the SCC decision mean for policy advice?
The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in John Doe regarding the section 13 policy advice exemption of Ontario’s FIPPA will have far reaching effects across the country. What can we expect to see in terms of how requesters, public bodies, Commissioners and the courts deal with this new interpretation?

Keynote Address: Carmen Cheung
Carmen Cheung is Senior Counsel at the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, where she focuses on issues relating to national security and works generally on litigation matters for the Association. Last year, the BCCLA filed a lawsuit against the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) claiming that its secret and unchecked collection of Canadians' private communications and metadata information violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ms. Cheung will address how the mass surveillance programs of signals intelligence agencies are being challenged in courts around the world, and draw on the experience of the BCCLA to ask, what are the next steps? Who is being targeted? And what can we do to rein in this unchecked surveillance?

Panel 3: Information Control: Whistleblowing and Gag Laws
Given the importance of whistleblowing as evidenced in the last two years by Edward Snowden, why does BC have such poor whistleblower protection? Does the federal system work better? Is such protection realistic in an environment where scientists are being muzzled, and gag clauses with harsh penalties are being built into laws like the Animal Health Act?

Panel 4: Privacy on the front lines: What changes to PIPA do you need?
As the Legislative Committee examines possible amendments to the Personal Information Protection Act, government data linkage and ID management systems that were just being planned two years ago are now being rolled out. The Integrated Case Management system has hit major problems, and there are other issues with private sector organizations having to use the system. What should be the Legislative Committee be looking at in terms of changes to better protect privacy and clarify obligations under both FIPPA and PIPA?