NDP

FOIPOP fee estimates triple under Liberals

November 3, 2016


For immediate release.

HALIFAX – Fee estimates for Freedom of Information requests to government departments in 2015 were more than three times the value of fee estimates in 2013, despite negligible increases in the number of requests filed. There is a mandatory $5 fee for Freedom of Information requests, but public bodies may also charge additional fees for staff time to locate and prepare records and photocopying.

“The government has a responsibility to be accountable to the people of Nova Scotia,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “Pricing people out of accessing information threatens the democratic purpose of Freedom of Information requests.”

The Liberal government has recently been criticized for a lack of transparency, including statements by Stephen McNeil that he discusses certain items only over the phone to avoid information being released through Freedom of Information requests. Freedom of Information requests filed by community groups and individuals have recently exposed serious issues, including irregular expense claims in municipalities across the province and questionable hiring practices in the executive council office.

“Whether it is examples of patronage, concerns about changes in the health care system, or information on how a government decision was made, Freedom of Information requests often bring to light important issues of public concern,” said Burrill. “Any substantial increase in fees raises concerns about who can access government information.”

The following chart outlines the number of Freedom of Information request applications sent to government departments and the total amount of fee estimates:

2013 2014 2015
Total applications 1902 1596 2003
Total fee estimates $10,683 $23,494 $32,278

 

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For more information, contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.