It’s been a depressing few years for people who believe, as the Supreme Court of Canada put it in 1993:
“In fostering the underlying values of dignity, integrity and autonomy, it is fitting that s. 8 of the Charter should seek to protect a biographical core of personal information which individuals in a free and democratic society would wish to maintain and control from dissemination to the state.” (emphasis added)
And in 2000:
“…it has long been recognized that this freedom not to be compelled to share our confidences with others is the very hallmark of a free and democratic society.”
The provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (public sector) and the Personal Information Protection Act (private sector) still exist. But 2010’s Bill 11, and 2011’s Bill 3 have now inserted the legislative equivalent of “poison pills” into them, all but annihilating their previously substantial protections of personal privacy and control of personal information.
And the BC Government continues to build its Integrated Case Management system, the information sharing behemoth that will unite and make widely accessible virtually all the information collected on every citizen. Health information will be available to the police, social services counsellors’ notes will be available to education administrators, and everything known about you will be available to the Ministry of Labour, Citizens Services and Open Government.
So hello, there George Orwell. Welcome to British Columbia.