COVID-19 Update – June 17, 2020 – Privacy + FOI Bulletin

June 17, 2020

Article by: Keri L. Bennett

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the British Columbia Ministry of Citizen Services has announced that it is extending the ministerial order overriding the data localization requirements of FIPPA until December 31, 2020.

The primary purpose of the order is to address the health care sector and virtual schooling.  However, public sector employers that are not health care bodies or schools may also generally be permitted to use technological products and services that allow for some disclosure of information outside of Canada so long as the public body complies with the requirements of the Order.

2. A public body may disclose personal information inside or outside of Canada in accordance with s. 33.2(a) or (c) of Freedom ofInformation and Protection of Privacy Act through the use of third-party tools and applications on the condition that the disclosure is  for the following purposes:

a) the third-party tools or applications are being used to support and maintain the operation of programs or activities of the public body or public bodies,

b) the third-party tools or applications support public health recommendations or requirements related to minimizing transmission of COVID-19 (e.g. social distancing, working from home, etc.), and

c) any disclosure of personal information is limited to the minimum amount reasonably necessary for the performance of duties by an employee, officer or minister of the public body.

3. A public body must not disclose information under sections 1 or 2 unless the head of the public body is satisfied that with respect to the information disclosed:

a) the third-party application is reasonably secure in compliance with s. 30 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; and

b) the public body makes all reasonable efforts to remove personal information which is collected, used or disclosed using a third-party application from the third-party application as soon as is operationally reasonable and the public body retains and manages the information, as required by law.

4. For the purposes of this order “third-party tools and applications” includes any software developed and maintained by a third party and which is used to enable communication or collaboration between individuals.

The full press release can be found here and the full text of the order can be found here

If you have questions on this update, please contact Keri L. Bennett.

All our previous COVID-19 information bulletins can be found on Roper Greyell’s COVID-19 resource page.