We encourage interested groups and citizens to check out this important meeting, organized by the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA). (CityHallWatch tip for active citizens: For the 2014 civic election, ask candidates if they promise to push for better policies and systems — including a formal whistleblower system — at your City Hall and the Metro Vancouver organization.)
“2014 BC Information Summit: Where’s the Balance?”
September 19, 2014
UBC Robson Square, Vancouver
The conference will explore the balance in information rights that protects Freedom of Information and privacy. It will examine new challenges to information rights in BC, and explore ways forward that are proactive, privacy-protecting, and promote transparency.
- Elizabeth Denham: BC Information and Privacy Commissioner
- Herb Lainchbury: President of Open Data BC
- Sylvie Therrien: Award-winning federal government whistleblower
- Catherine Boies Parker: Associate counsel, Farris Law
- Carmen Cheung: Senior Counsel, BC Civil Liberties Association
- John Tuck: Barrister and Solicitor, BC Ministry of Attorney General
- Brent Olthuis: Counsel, Hunter Litigation Chambers
- And more! (We have copied the full speaker list below, for reference)
Full speaker and programming details: www.infosummit.ca.
Excerpt from the Summit homepage (CityHallWatch bolding):
The pace of change in both the freedom of information and privacy spheres keeps picking up, and won’t be slowing any time soon.
A lot has happened since our last Information Summit, including:
- Open data systems have made large strides in the amount of data being made available, but questions are being asked about whether this data is primarily aimed at spurring innovation in the private sector rather than transparency in the public sector.
- A major Supreme Court of Canada decision on freedom of information expanding the use of the ‘policy advice’ exception.
- Thanks in large part to whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, we know a lot more about the massive electronic surveillance systems being run at our expense by the national security agencies in this country and elsewhere.
- Whistleblowers have provided important information to citizens about various questionable government activities, and most have paid a heavy price for their actions.
- Government information sharing, data mining and identity management systems that were in the planning stages, like Integrated Case Management and the BC Services Card, are now up and running.
Information Summit 2014 features a roster of experts and people intimately involved in how the world of information is changing. It will also help to map out where we can expect to be in the not too distant future.
Will Open Data achieve its promise? Can we find the efficiencies in government operations promised by new technology while still protecting privacy? What can be done to ensure that citizens are able to get vital information from government and other public bodies?
This year’s Information Summit will provide a unique opportunity to have this discussion with those who have been tackling these challenges head-on. We’ll hear about what works, what to avoid, and what practical steps can be taken in this current climate to promote access, and protect privacy.
Summit Speakers: http://infosummit.ca/speakers
Elizabeth Denham is Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia. Since her appointment in May 2010, Commissioner Denham has raised the profile of privacy rights, promoted transparency in government, and adopted a proactive approach to the enforcement of access and privacy laws in B.C.
Ms. Denham will speak about recent developments in access and privacy, including how the office is using 20th century laws to address 21st century challenges including new technologies, surveillance and digital record-keeping .
Carmen Cheung is Senior Counsel at the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, where she focuses on issues relating to national security and works generally on litigation matters for the Association. Last year, the BCCLA filed a lawsuit against the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) claiming that its secret and unchecked collection of Canadians’ private communications and metadata information violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Ms. Cheung will address how the mass surveillance programs of signals intelligence agencies are being challenged in courts around the world, and draw on the experience of the BCCLA to ask, what are the next steps? Who is being targeted? And what can we do to rein in this unchecked surveillance?
Dr. Richard S. Rosenberg is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Computer Science, at the University of British Columbia. His research interests are in the social impact of computers, and in Artificial Intelligence (AI). He is on the Board of the BC Civil Liberties Association, and is the president of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.
Marika Albert has over 12 years of research design and management experience, and is responsible for the Community Social Planning Council’s poverty reduction and prevention initiatives. She conducts and leads research on housing affordability and municipal policy, poverty reduction and prevention strategies, and monitors and reports on socio-economic trends for BC’s Capital Region. Her skills and experience cover a wide range of research methodologies and techniques, including community development research, program evaluation, population-level health research and organizational performance measurement. Before coming to the Council, Marika worked as a Research Analyst at BC Stats and as a Research Associate for the McCreary Centre Society in addition to research consulting on a wide range of community research initiatives. She received her Masters of Arts in Sociology from Simon Fraser University in 2006.
David Hume is Executive Director of Citizen Engagement for the Government of British Columbia. His small but high impact team is helping ministries across government think through and launch better ways to bring British Columbians into the process of improving policy and services that affect them. He has been full time with the Province of BC since May 2009, and before that has worked in various consulting and project roles with the UN, OECD, the Province of New Brunswick, the Federal Government and the Government of New Zealand.
Herb Lainchbury is an award winning system developer and an expert in open government, open data and technology. He is the CEO and founder of Dynamic Solutions, a firm providing custom web design and development services.
He is the founder of OpenDataBC and is the President of the Open Data Society of BC. He is also a member of the Government of Canada’s Advisory Panel on Open Government and the Chair of the Open Definition Advisory Council, an international body responsible for maintaining the open definition.
Carla Graebner is the Liaison Librarian for Economics and Government Information and Data Curator Project Manager at the W.A.C. Bennett Library, Simon Fraser University. She is on the Board of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association and is active in initiatives regarding ongoing access to government information including the Depository Services Program Advisory Committee, the British Columbia Library Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers.
Catherine Boies Parker graduated in 1994 from the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, where she received the Law Society Gold Medal and Prize. Catherine was called to the Bar of the Law Society of British Columbia in 1998. Her areas of practice include constitutional, administrative, privacy, environmental, aboriginal and labour and employment law, as well as general civil litigation.
Catherine has appeared at all levels of Court, and before numerous administrative and regulatory tribunals. She has been an instructor at the University of Victoria, and has acted as an adjudicator for the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia. Catherine is a frequent guest lecturer on topics such as constitutional law, privacy law and civil liberties. She is a former director of the Mary Manning Centre, Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Society of Greater Victoria and a former Chair of the ORCA Children’s Advocacy Centre Society.
Brent Olthuis is a partner at Hunter Litigation Chambers in Vancouver. He acts as counsel in a wide range of litigation matters, including administrative, class action, intellectual property and constitutional law. He has appeared as counsel for FIPA in the Supreme Court of Canada on two occasions.
In December 2012, Brent was the recipient of a Lexpert “Rising Star” award, as one of Canada’s leading lawyers under 40. In addition, Benchmark Litigation has recognized Brent since 2012 as a one of the “Future Stars” of the BC bar. Prior to commencing his legal practice, Brent clerked for both the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada.
John Tuck obtained his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Queens University at Kingston and his law degree from the University of Victoria. John has been with the Legal Services Branch for 17 years. During that time John has represented the Province before the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia in many inquiries. John also provides legal advice to the Province in relation to the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. He has also appeared in the British Columbia Supreme Court, the British Columbia Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Vincent Gogolek is the Executive Director of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1987 and has degrees in Law (University of Ottawa) and Journalism (Carleton), and a diploma in International and Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics. His work history includes stints in journalism, law and intergovernmental affairs. He has worked for legal aid in B.C. and Ontario and has been Policy Director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.
Sylvie Therrien is a former Integrity Services Investigator for Employment Insurance with Services Canada. She was suspended without pay in May 2013 when she took a stand against the federal government’s attempts to reduce the number of EI claimants, leaking documents showing that the Harper Government was trying to find ‘savings’ from the Employment Insurance funds by creating quotas for EI fraud. She was dismissed in October 2013.
Sylvie Therrien recently received the 2014 National Golden Whistle Award from POGG Canada and Canadians for Accountability. The award is presented annually to honour an individual for integrity, courage, and resolve in the service of peace, order and good government.
Dermod Travis served as the Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee from 2007 to 2011, and is the founder of PIRA Communications. He is a former member of Quebec’s Estates General on the Situation and the Future of the French Language and its Comité d’examen sur la langue d’enseignement.
He has given guest lectures at the Université de Montréal, Columbia University, Concordia University, Carleton University and McGill University. His political commentaries have been published in the Montreal Gazette, Le Devoir, La Presse, the Ottawa Citizen, the Victoria Times Colonist, the Georgia Straight and The Tyee. As well his views have been sought by a variety of Canadian and international media, including Japan’s Asahi Shimbum, the Washington Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera, The Congressional Record, Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, La Presse, CTV, CBC and Radio- Canada.
At IntegrityBC, he is responsible for managing the office and the organization’s strategic direction.
Jon Woodward is an award-winning reporter for CTV News in Vancouver who has used freedom of information laws, hidden cameras and sources to dig up information on some of B.C.’s major stories. He was also an associate producer on The Pig Farm, a documentary about the case of Vancouver’s missing women. His 2013 expose on how people were dying in a taxpayer-funded network of shady drug recovery homes prompted the B.C. government to spend millions trying to improve the system.
Bradley Weldon is a senior policy analyst at the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia. His particular areas of expertise are in the privacy challenges posed by emerging technologies, surveillance, and the review of legislation for implications for access to information or the protection of privacy. Prior to joining the OIPC, Bradley practised employment and labour law in the private sector. He is a graduate of the University of British Columbia (Geography) and the University of Victoria (Law) and is a member of the British Columbia Law Society.
Gwen Barlee has been involved in the environment movement since 2001 and is presently the Policy Director and a spokesperson for the 30,000 member Wilderness Committee. Gwen’s current projects with the Wilderness Committee include working to introduce BC endangered species legislation, protecting parks and public lands, and addressing the proliferation of private power projects in BC. Gwen is an active user of provincial freedom of information legislation and over the years has learned through trial and error how to pry politically sensitive information from numerous government bodies. Her innovative FOI work on key environmental issues and on Lyme disease, an emerging health concern in BC, has resulted in hundreds of media stories including front page coverage in the Vancouver Sun and The Province. Gwen is a Board Member with the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.
Larry Kuehn is Director of Research and Technology at the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and coordinates the BCTF International Solidarity Program. He is a former president of the BCTF, has an EdD degree and works on technology policy as it relates to education.
His work is particularly focused on issues related to the development and implementation of the new MyEducation BC student information system that has been adopted by the Ministry of Education and imposed on school districts and teachers.
Cynthia Fraser founded Safety Net Canada, a national technology initiative that addresses how technology impacts safety, privacy, accessibility and human rights for women, children and other survivors of violence. She’s also the Training Coordinator for the BC Society of Transition Houses. She’s worked to end violence at local, national and international levels for over 2 decades, including training communities and agencies in Saudi Arabia, Australia, the US and Canada. She’s done legal policy research in the US and Canada and frontline anti-violence work in a variety of communities. While at the US National Network to End Domestic Violence from 2003-2011, she trained over 11,000 professionals to use technology to support survivors, hold offenders accountable, and prevent violence.
Dawn Wattie is the President/CEO of Dawn Wattie Law Corporation. In 25 years of practicing she has handled a broad spectrum of legal matters working with senior management levels from a wide range of public sector and private sector organizations. Her law practice for the last 17 years has and continues to specialize in labour and employment including collective bargaining, human rights and privacy law; corporate commercial, intellectual property, with a significant emphasis on the protection and enhancement of intellectual property, corporate governance and structuring, negotiation of corporate commercial transactions and agreements for commercial and technology related issues nationally and internationally, such as on-line business agreements, licensing, distribution and buying and selling businesses or business assets, with a significant focus on the commercialization of intellectual property.
Rob Wipond has been a freelance investigative journalist and social commentator for twenty years, and is currently based in British Columbia, Canada. His research interests include mental health science, law, governance and ethics, including the way these issues can intersect with civil rights, poverty, seniors’ care, education, health care, policing, technology, surveillance and privacy. He has been a regular contributor for the independent monthly magazine Focus for ten years, and in 2014 became News Editor for the website Mad In America.
Micheal Vonn is a lawyer and the Policy Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association. She has been an adjunct professor in the faculty of law at the University of British Columbia and an adjunct professor at the UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, where she teaches information ethics and intellectual freedom. She is also a regular guest instructor for UBC’s College of Health Disciplines Interdisciplinary Elective in HIV/AIDS care. Ms. Vonn is a frequent speaker on a variety of civil liberties topics including privacy, national security, policing, surveillance and free speech. She is an advisory board member of Privacy International.