Bradford is hoping to make it easier for residents to access information.
Council approved a motion during its Feb. 6 meeting to request Ontario's Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery review the province's Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), based on recommendations from the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO).
The Act gives people the right to request access to municipal government information — including most general records and records containing their own personal information — but also requires government institutions to protect the privacy of any individual’s personal information in government records.
According to the association, “municipalities consider transparency an important tool for building and maintaining public trust,” but the act hasn’t been comprehensively reviewed in more than 30 years, and as a result it doesn’t properly consider modern technology, which “presents numerous challenges for municipal staff,” hindering how efficiently and effectively they can provide information to the public.
“The legislation in its current form is not responsive enough to the needs of digital government and lacks clarity in critical areas. This means that municipal resources are being spent navigating unnecessarily burdensome processes rather than serving the public,” AMCTO said in their correspondence to council.
The association points to references in the Act to outdated technology like CD-ROMS and techniques like manual searches, and notes lack of references to the modern reality of cybersecurity breaches, online communication platforms, digital governance, digital identities and artificial intelligence.
“Clarity is needed on how records such as instant message chats and social media communications, digital recycling bins, and automated records such as logs and meta data should be treated,” the association said.
As a result, AMCTO wants MFIPPA “comprehensively” reviewed every five years.
Council approved the motion without discussion.