Openness and privacy in Ontario: an evaluation of the implementation of FIPPA : (The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1987, Chapter 25 and Ontario Regulation 532/87) /
Catalfamo, Holly A.
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Since the early 1970's, Canadians have expressed many concerns about the growth of government and its impact on their daily lives. The public has requested increased access to government documents and improved protection of the personal information which is held in government files and data banks. At the same time, both academics and practitioners in the field of public administration have become more interested in the values that public servants bring to their decisions and recommendations. Certain administrative values, such as accountability and integrity, have taken on greater relative importance. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the implementation of Ontario's access and privacy law. It centres on the question of whether or not the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1987, (FIPPA) has answered the demand for open access to government while at the same time protecting the personal privacy of individual citizens. It also assesses the extent to which this relatively new piece of legislation has made a difference to the people of Ontario. The thesis presents an overview of the issues of freedom of information and protection of privacy in Ontario. It begins with the evolution of the legislation and a description of the law itself. It focuses on the structures and processes which have been established to meet the procedural and administrative demands of the Act. These structures and processes are evaluated in two ways. First, the thesis evaluates how open the Ontario government has become and, second, it determines how Ill carefully the privacy rights of individuals are safeguarded. An analytical framework of administrative values is used to evaluate the overall performance of the government in these two areas. The conclusion is drawn that, overall, the Ontario government has effectively implemented the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, particularly by providing access to most government-held documents. The protection of individual privacy has proved to be not only more difficult to achieve, but more difficult to evaluate. However, the administrative culture of the Ontario bureaucracy is shown to be committed to ensuring that the access and privacy rights of citizens are respected.