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 5: Harmonization with Other Privacy Legislation

When approaching the management of records, an organization may opt for centralized or decentralized control. These concepts have also been considered in regards to access, privacy and records management in Alberta. An idea which was considered during the review of the FOIP Act is an attempt to harmonize this act with other privacy legislation in Alberta. This would include the Health Information Act (HIA) and Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). While the ideal result of complete harmonization would be to centralize control, simplify requests and create a uniform policy for managing records containing personal information, there are several issues with this plan. As pointed out in the submission by Alayne Sinclair (2010) on behalf of the City of Edmonton, these acts deal with very different collections, stakeholders and disclosures. In addition to this incompatibility, the resources required to implement new training, storage, retention and administrative policies would be tremendous (Sinclair, 2010). However, harmonizing may not necessarily mean that policies between these acts would have to be entirely in uniform with each other, but rather that certain portions of the acts should align in order to make sure that no information is overlooked and therefore subject to privacy violations. The Alberta Teachersí Associationís submission gives the example of charter schools, which have some issues that are covered by PIPA while others are covered by the FOIP Act (Shane, 2010b). In this case a harmonizing of the two policies could help avoid mistakes and privacy breeches. While there are strong arguments for and against harmonization, clearly it is not acceptable for potentially sensitive information to fall between the cracks where the acts currently fail to meet.

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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.