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City continues to enhance openness and transparency

December 20 2016

LED light installation at City Hall

We recently sent a follow-up letter to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) to update the Acting Commissioner on our continued efforts to improve public access to City records.

These efforts have reduced average response times to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by nine days, a decrease of 36% compared to 2015, even with an overall increase in the number of FOI requests in the same time period.

FOI request response times

Date range Total requests Average response time Subject to 30-day extension Provided after 30 days without proper extension
June 1 – November 30, 2016 268 16 days 7% 0
June 1 – November 30, 2015 250 25 days 18% 0

Our actions since June 2016

We are committed to transparency and acknowledge the value and necessity of providing timely and meaningful access to information to the public.

In June, 2016, OIPC released an audit and compliance report City of Vancouver Duty to Assist which outlined 12 recommendations to improve the our response to information requests submitted under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Since then, our staff have been working hard to implement actions to respond to the recommendations, including enhanced documentation, staff training, and policy updates regarding the use of City email accounts.

Additional proactive efforts

In proactive efforts to improve public and media access to information, we have done the following in 2016:

  • Began routine posting of completed FOI response packages in May 2016, of files that do not contain personal information (30-day time lag from release) – currently files are posted retroactive to January 1, 2016 on the FOI webpage
  • Reviewed records released between 2011 and 2015 and posted more than 50 FOI releases on matters of broad interest from this period
  • Expanded our Open Data website which now contains 149 data sets, including the recent addition of an Annual Remuneration Report for all City of Vancouver staff who earn more than $75,000 per year
  • Implemented a new data visualization function for Council voting records
  • Implemented Open Data posting of Council voting records in April 2016. The new dashboard will make it easier to view the voting record of Vancouver City Councillors since April 5, 2016 for Regular Council, Special Council, Standing Committee, and Public Hearing meeting types.
  • Made additional details of service requests submitted through VanConnect, the City's mobile app, available to the public on the app as of July 1, 2016
  • In February, City Council approved amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Bylaw to appoint a single head, reflecting current City process and the practice of other municipalities. This has streamlined our head review processes and aided in more timely responses to FOI requests.

Read our full update to the OIPC, submitted on December 14, 2016 (PDF, 96 KB)

Read our formal response to the report submitted on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 to the OIPC  (PDF, 76 KB)

Review the OIPC report and recommendations