Papering over the issue

The health services ministry's 14-month old effort to develop a home and community care strategic document seems to have produced a voluminous amount of paperwork. According to the ministry's corporate information, privacy and records branch, there are at least 3,000 pages of background records related to that effort. This, in response to a freedom of information request filed by the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union. And the government is charging $1,500 for access to those records. The following is a complete copy of that response.

January 16, 2009
Reference No. 292-30/HSE-08-184

Leah Squance
4911 Canada Way
Burnaby, BC V5G 3W3

Dear Leah Squance:

Re: Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Requests for Records

I am writing regarding your request submitted under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) for:

"General Service Agreement (contract 2008-676) between the Ministry of Health Services and Deloitte and Touche for:

1) Notes, research documents and background information used to draft the Home and Community Care Strategic Document as specified by contract 2008-676 and the October 6 Notice of Intent extending the cotnract;
2) Partial or incomplete drafts of the Home and Community Care Strategic Document;
3) Draft strategic foundation concepts (vision and goals) and strategic outcomes for Home and Community Care, as identified as Phase 1 of the service agreement;
4) Stakeholder feedback, including notes, lists of participants in stakeholder interviews, and presentations to stakeholders, being integrated into the Home and Community Care Strategic Document;
5) Notes, drafts and complete records for the Project Charter, as identified as a Key Deliverable for Phase 1 of the agreement;
6) Notes, drafts and completed records for the work plan, as identified as a Key Deliverable for Phase 1 of the agreement; and
7) Home and Community Care logistics, rollout and communications strategy."

Your request was received on December 30, 2008. The Act allows 30 days for public bodies to respond to requests made under this legislation. As such, the due date for your request is February 11, 2009; however, in accordance with section 75 of the Act, we have determined the processing of your request warrants a fee. The estimated charges are as follows:

Locating and retrieving records:
First Three Hours Free
(total 14 hours minus 3 hours = 11)
11 hours @ $30.00/hour $330.00

Preparing records for disclosure:
14 hours @ $30.00/hour $420.00

3000 pages @ $0.25/page $750.00

Total Fee Estimate: $1500.00

Please send a deposit of 50% or the full amount of $1500.00 in a cheque or money order made payable to the Minister of Finance, to the attention of Neva Borg at the address on the letterhead. Upon receipt of your deposit or fee, the Ministry will prodceed with your request.

In the meantime, the processing of this request will be suspended from January 16, 2009 until the date we receive the deposit or fee. You will be advised of the revised due date for this request.

Please note if we don't hear from you by February 16, 2008 we will assume you do not wish to pursue the matter and will close your file.

All reasonable efforts have been made to generate an accurate estimate; however, the applicant will be required to pay the actual cost whether it is higher or lower than the estimate.

If you have any questions about this letter please contact Neva Borg, Information, Privacy & Litigation Officer.

The legislation provides that you may apply to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) for a review of this fee estimate. The procedure is outlined on the enclosed page.


Deb McGinnis


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