NPA City Councillor Lisa Dominato calls for the Proactive Disclosure of Vancouver City Councillor Calendars

Motion calls for City Councillor calendars to be disclosed on a monthly basis in concert with the proactive disclosure and release of the Mayor’s calendar

 

March 7, 2019, Vancouver, B.C. – NPA City Councillor Lisa Dominato wants her fellow Council members to take an important step toward greater openness and transparency by agreeing to have City Councillor calendars released proactively on the City’s website on a monthly basis. To move this initiative forward, Dominato has submitted a motion for next week’s Council agenda that she hopes her fellow Council members will support.

“Being open and transparent helps build public trust in the democratic process,” said Dominato. “By disclosing our Council calendars, which the Mayor already does for his calendar, we would be taking another step forward in being accountable to the public.”

In recent years, the City has taken steps in support of a proactive information release program; one that provides access to frequently requested City records for citizens and the media. For example, in 2017, the City began to proactively release the Mayor’s Calendar, making it available to the public on the City’s website on a quarterly basis without a Freedom of Information request. However, the calendars of Vancouver City Councillors are not currently part of the City’s proactive information release program.

A copy of Councillor Dominato’s motion can be found here.

In addition to the proactive disclosure of City Councillor calendars, Councillor Dominato’s motion also calls for staff to consult with the City’s Corporate Security team regarding any personal safety and security considerations that might exist prior to implementation, and for staff to consider and then report back to Council on the establishment of a formal policy for proactive disclosure.

As noted in Dominato’s motion, the release of City Councillor calendars should be carried out in accordance with the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, with any exceptions or exemptions outlined in the Act, such as those that apply to personal and confidential information, should be appropriately redacted.

Additional background notes are appended at the end of this media release.

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BACKGROUND NOTES

  • The purposes of the Province of British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act are “to make public bodies more accountable to the public and to protect personal privacy”, including “giving the public a right of access to records.”
  • At the Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Regular Council Meeting, Council unanimously supported a motion submitted by NPA Councillor George Affleck calling on Vancouver City Council to “demonstrate a commitment to openness and transparency by directing that all expenses from the Mayor’s Office budget, including expenses from the Mayor’s discretionary fund, and expenses from the corresponding office budget for City Councillors, be released proactively to the public on a quarterly basis through the City’s online Open Data Catalogue, including copies of all contractor and supplier invoices (consistent with appropriate privacy protection legislation), beginning with expenses for the current 2016 Budget year.”
  • In 2017, the City of Vancouver began to proactively release the Mayor’s Calendar, making it available to the public on the City’s website on a quarterly basis without a Freedom Information access request.
  • As of November 2018, the Mayor’s calendar is proactively disclosed and released on a monthly basis, as per the direction of Mayor Stewart.

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