Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn has tabled the first major overhaul in 23 years to the Yukon’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
The 156-page Bill 23 received first reading in the legislature last Wednesday. It was scheduled to receive second reading today, along with five other pieces of legislation tabled last week.
The government tabled eight pieces of legislation in the first week of the fall sitting.
Two more pieces of legislation were expected this afternoon, on the fifth day of the legislative sitting and the final day the government can table legislation for the fall session.
The access and privacy legislation brings forward all sorts of new provisions.
“I would say the most significant change is the enhanced protection of personal information and access to information,” Jeffrey Sunstrum, a senior government access and privacy analyst who helped craft the new legislation, explained during a briefing held at noon last Friday.
The legislation, for instance, reduces the time for protection of territorial cabinet documents from 15 years to 10 in certain cases.
It provides the cabinet with the authority to make municipalities and non-government bodies conform to the legislation.
Bill 23 also provides for the publication of all access to information requests after the information has been provided to the applicant, minus the applicant’s identity.
It provides the ability for a designated privacy officer to remove privacy provisions from information if they deem it’s in the interest of the public to release the information.
It establishes “key roles required for a public body to fulfill its duties and responsibilities to protect personal information held by the public body.”
The act clarifies and expands the authority of the access and privacy officer.
“What we are looking to do is expand protection of personal information and we are looking to improve service delivery as well as make more information available to the public without an access-to-information request,” Sunstrum explained.
The seven other pieces of legislation include:
• The Electoral Boundaries Act, introduced by Premier Sandy Silver;
• The Societies Act, introduced by Community Services Minister John Streicker;
• The Equality of Spouses Statute Law Amendment Act introduced by Women’s Directorate Minister Jeanie Dendys;
• The Act to Amend the Forest Resources Act and the Territorial Lands Act introduced by Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai;
• The Lobbyists Registration Act introduced by Silver.
• The Coroners Act introduced by Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee; and
• The Second Appropriation Act – supplementary budget – introduced by Silver.
The Appropriation Act, for instance, calls for a relatively minor change in the annual territorial budget tabled last spring, with $13.4 million in new money, raising the budget from $1.472 billion to $1.485 billion.
As publicized earlier this year, the Electoral Boundaries Act, on the other hand, calls for the addition of one more riding, raising the total from 19 to 20. It also calls for a substantial realignment of the electoral boundaries for several existing ridings.
For years, there’s been a call for the Lobbyists Registration Act.
The intent of the act is to make available to the public the identities of those who are trying to influence the government in its policy-making.
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