Editorial: The Office of Information and Privacy is breaking the law

We weren't really expecting our many Freedom of Information requests to get a satisfying answer about why Gupta quit (remember — it’s January. He resigned in August). We've learned by now how much information can be withheld, redacted and denied.

But we didn't expect the Office of Information and Privacy (OIP) to give us absolutely nothing on the day they were due to disclose — not so much as the customary email to notify applicants.

The issue here goes far beyond problems with understaffing or a large number of requests — and we doubt that the core reason for these delays is really because of lengthy consultation with relevant parties.

This is about a negotiation process taking the place of what should be the main goal of the Office of Information and Privacy — delivering what is legally accessible and what they are legally obligated to provide to the public.

Moreover, it’s illegal.

UBC is in clear violation of BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Requests must be fulfilled within 30 days unless they have legitimate excuses, which are outlined within FIPPA. The only public reason they’ve given for the delays is that they’re busy, which is not a proper reason for delay.

At this point, the OIP has delayed the requests three times — each delay gives them another 30 days, which they’ve interpreted as business days, not actual days. This is clearly an effort to delay release.

Basically, UBC is breaking the law. And, “Sorry, but we’ve had more things come up than we expected,” isn’t an excuse.