The British Columbia Lottery Corp. is withholding access to three third party reports "auditing, evaluating, monitoring or reporting" on the performance of its self-exclusion programs since 2001. The alleged failure of similar programs in Ontario has become the subject of a class action lawsuit in that province. And, as a result, Public Eye filed a freedom of information request on June 18, 2008 to determine if the corporation has effectively kept its own program participants out of provincial gaming facilities.
But, according to the corporation, those reports would reveal "advice or recommendations developed by or for a public body or a minister." They also include "confidential commercial information gathered" that could "reasonably be expected to harm (the) economic interests" of the corporation. And their release "could reasonably be expected to result in the premature disclosure of a project or proposal before it has been made pubicly known." Which means, under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, they can be withheld.
Asked for comment, Port Coquitlam candidate Mike Farnworth said, "My guess is it'll come out after May 12. That would be my guess and not a day before because this government clearly doesn't believe in freedom of information legislation. And on an issue like this they should be disclosing."
"You want to make sure (the self-exclusion programs) are doing the job they're supposed to do. And, if there's areas that aren't working, how else are going to know how to deal with them unless we know what's going on?"