The government estimates it has prepared approximately 1,000 pages of briefing notes regarding a controversial plan that could change how the province handles freedom of information requests. But the government won't release those records without a $535 fee payment. Under that plan, the records the government releases in response to freedom of information requests won't just be given to the applicant. Instead, they will be given to everyone - including journalists who could potentially get an easy story out of a competing reporter's hard work. This, according to a report by The Vancouver Sun's Chad Skelton. That's similar to a system already in place at British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. But, in a recent scrum with reporters, Citizens' Services Minister Mary McNeil suggested the government's plan to follow that model isn't set in stone, stating, "We're going to learn from BC Ferries, but we're not BC Ferries." The aforementioned cost and page estimates were provided in response to a freedom of information request filed by Public Eye. The following is a complete copy of that response.
February 22, 2011