The FOIP Act Review and Records Management in Alberta


Introduction

Role of the FOIP Act

Historical Controversies

A Selection of Submissions made to the Standing Committee on Health

Issue 1: Municipal Government Records

Issue 2: Treatment of Electronic Records

Issue 3: Records and Social Networking Websites

Issue 4: Concept of "Custody" vs. "Control"

Issue 5: Harmonization with Other Privacy Legislation

Review by the Standing Committee on Health

Conclusion

References

Reflection


Issue 1: Municipal Government Records

One submission dealing with records management and the FOIP Act came from Strathcona County Chief Commissioner Robyn Singleton. Singleton (2010) suggests that: A comprehensive list of records which should be routinely disclosed would increase transparency and consistency regarding the release of information amongst municipalities. This could be accomplished through regulation. In this statement Singleton is suggesting that a mandatory records management policy should be created and applied to FOIP documents in the custody and/or control of municipal governments. There are several advantages and drawbacks to the creation of such a policy. As mentioned by Singleton, such a policy would ideally assist in determining the access to items subject to FOIP. The goal in this case would also be consistency, helping to avoid the possible frustrations of misunderstandings or misinterpretations of FOIP regulations. However, these advantages that may come from regulation are coupled with potential drawbacks. One of the immediate issues that may arise is the difficulty of reconciling pre-existing records management policies created by individual municipalities with a new universal policy. Another potential difficulty is that a universal policy, especially as it relates to access, may not take into account special or unique circumstances or cases. The protection of personal information offered by FOIP comes largely due to the fact that individual information requests must each be examined by a qualified individual in order to assure that the disclosure of the information will not be harmful to an individual or group.

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This assignment was originally created in the Fall Term 2010 for LIS 594 - Records Management.
This website was created by Leah Townsend, as a requirement for graduation from the Masters of Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta.