“Freedom-of-Information requests shunted to sidelines during virus crisis”

20200327 Toronto Star

Interesting article from the Toronto Star yesterday:

“Freedom-of-Information requests shunted to sidelines during virus crisis” by, Toronto Star, Thu., March 26, 2020

The excerpt below is especially relevant to provincial and municipal institutions in Ontario:

The office of Ontario’s information commissioner says the expectation to comply with the province’s access law remains in effect, but adds it understands that many organizations will be unable to meet the 30-day response requirement.

In other words, the FOI process is still running in the Province of Ontario.

The article indicates that FOI requests are generally still being processed across Canada; however, resources are currently a little strained and deadlines may slip. A few federal agencies recently issued notices to requestors that their applications for information would be placed on hold due to COVID-19. British Columbia’s information commissioner has given institutions an additional 30 days to respond to requests received in March and April.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this topic as it develops. If your institution is handling FOI requests differently during the COVID-19 situation, I would love to hear from you, either by direct message here, or in the comments below.

If you’d like to stay engaged with further updates and see pre-release previews and demos of the FOI Assist software, please follow the FOI Assist blog. To subscribe, simply enter your email address at the bottom of the page then click the follow button.

Published by Justin Petrillo

I have created the FOI Assist™ software to help Ontario’s provincial and municipal government institutions of all sizes track and respond to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. For most of my career I have been a lawyer, advising clients on commercial, intellectual property and FOI/privacy issues. From 2013 to 2015, I managed the FOI program for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee while serving as Legal Counsel to the Games. Prior to becoming a lawyer, I obtained a computer science degree and worked as a software developer at several well-known technology companies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: