What a year!
With the holidays just around the corner, I wanted to send everyone my best wishes and give you all an update on how things are progressing here at FOI Assist.
Obviously this has been an unusual year for everyone, and a difficult year for many. I was fortunate to be working from home when everything shut down in March. Schools were shut down too, and my children joined me at home for the remainder of the school year. This pushed back the schedule for the release of the FOI Assist software.
The FOI Assist software will be available January
However, I am pleased to report that the FOI Assist software is now “feature complete”. The documentation is complete as well, and the software is currently going through a thorough final testing process prior to its release. The software will be available to provincial and municipal institutions in Ontario on a subscription basis in January 2021.
Besides keeping track of deadlines, preparing correspondence and fee estimates, and generating the year-end statistical report, the FOI Assist software also empowers remote work by allowing FOI professionals to work from home or at the office.
Companies such as Google are now setting the trend of having their employees work a “hybrid” work model, where many employees work remotely and are expected to return to the office only occasionally, or for part of each week. In this new environment, all institutions should be thinking about how they can support their staff in performing their full responsibilities, whether working from home or at the office.
If your institution needs to process and respond to FOI requests on a timely basis while your staff work partially or fully from home, FOI Assist is the solution.
During the pandemic, I have been giving demonstrations of the FOI Assist software via Zoom and Google Meet. If you would be interested in seeing how the FOI Assist software can save you time and help you respond to FOI files in compliance with applicable legislation, please send me a note via the contact page. I would be happy to show you the FOI Assist software in action and answer any questions you might have.
The FOI Assist website
In the meantime, readership of the FOI Assist website continues to grow. It is not uncommon for this website to receive over 100 visits a day, as FOI professionals and the public regularly search for advice on how to respond to FOI requests correctly and efficiently. And the numbers appear to be growing rapidly! November 2020 was the top month so far, followed by the current month of December 2020, and we still have the rest of December to go.
The most popular new posts of 2020 included:
- Patricia Kosseim is Ontario’s Next Privacy Commissioner
- Abandonment Issues
- Applying the public interest override to employment information
- COVID-19 Applicable Exemptions
- Assigning searches to internal staff
- The “Advice or Recommendations” Exemption (FIPPA s.13 / MFIPPA s.7)
Thank you for continuing to follow the website through 2020 and into the new year. I look forward to sharing more information about FOI requests and the FOI Assist software in 2021. Until then…
All the best to you and your family in the year ahead!
December 22, 2020