Looking Forward

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Hunters in the Snow (1565)

It has been a good year for FOI Assist. The FOI Assist software came out in January, and in just a few short months, provincial and municipal institutions started tracking and processing FOI requests in a whole new way.

I’m incredibly thankful for the time that many institutions have invested in learning how the FOI Assist software can help their practice, whether through self-directed research, or by booking a demonstration of the software.

And of course, I am inspired and grateful for the support that the FOI Assist software has received from its subscribers, who adopted the FOI Assist software in its first year. Interest continues to grow, and over the next few months, I expect to have many more instititions coming aboard and using the FOI Assist software to track and manage their FOI requests.

On the other hand, 2021 has been a year of closures and restrictions affecting many across the province and around the world. Working from home, and able to conduct meetings and demonstrations online, I feel relatively fortunate, while others have been forced to take absences from work, or to return to a workplace with new, more difficult condititions.

At various provincial and municipal instititions, staff have been responding to challenges arising from a pandemic now nearing its second full year. Many staff are still working remotely, with no clear plan to return to the office full-time.

Online FOI Submission Module

To meet this challenge, FOI Assist will be releasing a new module in early 2022 that will enable institutions to easily start accepting FOI requests online. This new module will collect the $5 application fee on behalf of the institution, and allow requestors to upload proof of identification as well as proof of authorization when required. Requests submitted online will be tracked and presented in a well-organized table. From there, they can be easily transferred to the FOI Assist software for processing, or handled manually.

The new “Online FOI Submission” module will be made available both on a stand-alone basis, and as a fully integrated component of the FOI Assist software. Pricing is still to be determined. However, as a token of appreciation for FOI Assist’s earliest clients, institutions who are subscribed to the FOI Assist software when the new module is released will be able to activate it and start accepting FOI requests online at no additional charge. (Of course, activating this new module will be optional.)

If you’d like to hear more about the Online FOI Submission module, or if you have features or requests you’d like to see included, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for continuing to follow the FOI Assist Knowledge Base this year and into the next. I look forward to sharing more tips and information about FOI requests, and to welcoming a growing number of institutions to a better way of tracking and responding to FOI requests: the FOI Assist software.

Until then…

Happy Holidays

All the best to you and your family in the year ahead!

Justin Petrillo

London, Ontario

December 20, 2021

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.

One thought on “Looking Forward

  1. Wow you have a unique perspective and such a way with words, Justin- best wishes to you and yours for the holidays and 2022!

    Sent from Rogers Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

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