New report says British Columbians’ information rights are being undermined

A view of the legislature in Victoria, B.C. at night.
The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Photo courtesy of the Province of British Columbia
Lisa Cordasco - CHLY - NanaimoBC | 02-09-2020
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British Columbians’ information rights are being undermined

A new report says the provincial government is breaking the law when it comes to requests under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The report examined 4,000 requests for information between 2017 and 2020. It found government regularly extends the thirty-day time limit to answer those requests without seeking approval from the privacy commissioner's office first. The Information and Privacy Commissioner says as a result, British Columbians' information rights are being undermined. However, Michael McEvoy also found the current government's behaviour is an improvement over how the former Liberal government responded to requests before 2017.  The report makes several recommendations, including using automation for the processing of records.

Nanaimo City Council to pursue Housing Navigation Centre pilot project

Nanaimo council has voted to pursue a pilot project aimed at providing shelter housing that includes medical supports. BC Housing is offering one and a half million dollars a year for four years to a Vancouver Island community willing to help provide space for a sixty bed shelter. The Housing Navigation Center would offer space to homeless people after they are screened and their medical needs assessed. Council voted to write a letter of interest to the province, to get the ball rolling.  However, two councillors, Sheryl Armstrong and Ian Thorpe were opposed.

"The cost to run them in the States is over four million dollars so I don't how we can run them for 1.5 and these are going to be drug and alcohol allowed in that so my concern is we are going to see the exact same thing that's happened with the others and that we're going to have dealers in the neighbourhoods," said Armstrong.

"I am sensing that our city is sort of at supportive housing fatigue right now.  We've got enough challenges facing us to get the proposed buildings up and running and satisfying the concerns of the neighbourhoods where they will be located. I don't feel I can support taking on another similar type of project at this time," said Thorpe.

Armstrong and Thorpe were outvoted by their fellow councillors who pointed out the letter is an expression of interest and does not commit the city to agree to the project.

Two affordable housing projects completed in Nanaimo

In other housing news, the province is heralding two new affordable housing projects for seniors and physically disabled people in Nanaimo. Later this month, twenty-eight one-bedroom townhomes will open on Uplands Dr. The project includes twelve accessible homes for people with developmental disabilities. Four full-time staff members will help support residents in their home and provide services according to each individual's care plan. Monthly rents for these units will be $500. Fifteen other homes will rent at $880 per month.

A second project includes fifty-seven units including three accessible units on Mill Street. These units will rang in rent from $935 to $1,135 dollars a month. The rent includes phone, internet cable and laundry.