Quick Navigation Links  :: download our new flyer! ::  :: bulletin board ::  ::order t-shirts::  ::contact us:: 


GOVERNMENT FOI REVIEW COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION
REGARDING THE STATUS OF THE BCSPCA MAY 2004

Recommendation No. 3

"Investigate why the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was assigned the dual status of a public body and a non-profit society in the first place and whether there is a case for clarifying or even changing its status."

The May 2004 report by the Special Committee that reviewed the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act during the Fifth Session of the Thirty-seventh Parliament is called:

"The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia Enhancing the Province's Public Sector Access and Privacy Law"

Report-links and excerpt from pages 11 and 12 below:

* Main entry page to Report:

http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/37thparl/session-5/foi/5-37-5-14-5.htm

*PDF Version of Report :

http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/37thparl/session-5/foi/reports/Rpt-FOIPPA37-5.pdf

Committee Members: Blair Lekstrom, MLA Chair Peace River South; Mike Hunter, MLA Deputy Chair Nanaimo; Bill Belsey, MLA North Coast; Harry Bloy, MLA Burquitlam; Jeff Bray, MLA Victoria-Beacon Hill; Hon. Tom Christensen, MLA (To February 10, 2004) Okanagan-Vernon; Dave Hayer, MLA Surrey-Tynehead; Ken Johnston, MLA Vancouver-Fraserview; Harold Long, MLA (To February 10, 2004) Powell River-Sunshine Coast; Joy MacPhail, MLA Vancouver-Hastings; Sheila Orr, MLA Victoria-Hillside; Barry Penner, MLA Chilliwack-Kent; Gillian Trumper, MLA Alberni-Qualicum; Dr. John Wilson, MLA Cariboo North.

__________________________________________________

PG.11

3: SCOPE

Who is covered (and not covered) by the Act?

Section 3 discusses the scope of the Act and explains which records are covered by the legislation and which are excluded. Currently the Act covers approximately 2,200 public bodies in British Columbia. Qualifying as public bodies are all provincial ministries, agencies, boards, commissions, most Crown corporations, and offices or other bodies designated in, or added by regulation, to Schedule 2; and local public bodies. Schedule 3 identifies the governing bodies of a profession or occupation falling under the purview of the Act.

The Committee received a few requests to extend the scope of coverage to those entities no longer qualifying as public bodies under the Act. In particular, it was suggested that the records of former Crown corporations needed to be accessible. While we would not normally condone the practice of exempting the entire records of a public-private entity, because of its negative impact on access rights, we have come to the conclusion that the decision to extend or reduce the scope of the Act is a decision to be made by the governing party, rather than private members serving on an all-party parliamentary committee.

One case of exclusion, though, deserves special mention. The Committee was asked to consider bringing the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) under the scope of the Act due to the problems some individuals involved in the animal rights movement have experienced obtaining records of its activities. Upon further inquiry, we learned that the society has a unique status in terms of its organizational structure. The BCSPCA is a not-for-profit and mainly self-funded society organized under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 372). This statute enables the society to provide animal welfare services through its administration centre, branches or shelters, or authorized agents.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries provides a small annual grant ($71,500)specifically for the training of animal cruelty investigators. However, it has no authority to regulate the society's activities, except to require it to properly uphold an individual's civil rights when exercising its investigative powers under the Act. Municipalities have more regulatory power, under the legislation, through their contracts with the society to provide pound services.

From the Committee's perspective, it is clear that the BCSPCA is an anomaly. On the one hand, it is a public body in terms of having statutory authority to deliver its animal welfare services. On the other hand, its legal status as a non-profit society exempts its records from the purview of the Act. Therefore we would urge the government to look into this matter.

Recommendation No. 3 —Investigate why the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was assigned the dual status of a public body and a non-profit society in the first place and whether there is a case for clarifying or even changing its status."

CYA urge the Members of the Legislative Assembly to act on Recommendation 3 of the Special Committee that reviewed the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Animal lovers across the province have on many occasions expressed concerns regarding the lack of accountability within the BC SPCA and the public’s inability to access information regarding the society’s activities within the province of British Columbia.

Recommendation 3 would be a positive step to address the public concerns regarding the special status that the government has granted the BC SPCA through provincial legislation.

*CYA Director Tim Wittenberg made a submission to the Special FOI Review Committee:

Go to this link to read his testimony:

http://www.legis.gov.bc.ca/cmt/37thparl/session-4/foi/hansard/I40121a.htm

* To read "FOI Committee Submission" February 27, 2004
Prepared for the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Review Committee by Kimberly Daum who allowed us to post her submission on our website.

Go to: http://www.cyabc.ca/media.html

 


CYABC is now able to accept donations in CDN funds with PayPal.
Please click on link below to donate


All Rights Reserved. Copyright © Free Spirit Media, Inc.April 2002.


CYABC is pleased to announce that we have become an
Amazon.com affilliate. CYA receives 15% of any purchases
made directly from our link to their site.
So please, if you are looking to order from
Amazon.com, do it from here.



In Association with Amazon.com

Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com

 




If you have any questions or comments please email the webmaster

All Rights Reserved. Copyright © Free Spirit Media, Inc.April 2002.