Summary:

TORONTO, September 25, 2015 – Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Brian Beamish, is calling on all levels of the public sector to proactively publish contracting information so that the public may scrutinize the spending of government funds. By openly disclosing information about the allocation of resources, public bodies have an opportunity to foster greater public trust, improve accountability and engage with Ontarians.

Mr. Beamish will be speaking in Sault Ste. Marie this morning and highlighting the enormous benefits of this transparent approach and other Open Government principles just ahead of international Right to Know Week.

Right to Know Event, Sault Ste. Marie
In his remarks, the Commissioner will outline important steps that are being taking across the province to improve the public’s ability to access information, including development of harmonized services and standards, Open Government action plans and increasing the availability of large data sets. These actions empower the public to fully participate in the activities of its government and the decision-making process. The Hon David Orazietti, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, and Reg St-Amour, Vice Chair, Sault Area Hospital Board of Directors will also speak at the event. Following the main presentation, two concurrent panels with senior IPC staff will focus on greater transparency in government and protecting health privacy.

New Guidance for Open Contracting
A key principle of Open Government is proactive disclosure – the release of information in anticipation of the public’s needs. To embrace this principle and make procurement processes transparent, public bodies should disclose how contracts are awarded, what has been contracted for, how they chose the successful bidders, the various costs of the contract and who is responsible for the decisions related to the contract. Making this information available clarifies government decision-making around procurement and empowers individuals to engage with the process. To assist organizations in becoming more transparent, the IPC has published a new guidance document, Opening Contracting: Proactive Disclosure of Procurement Records. It offers tips on designing and implementing a transparent procurement process, while still protecting confidentiality when appropriate.

Quote

“The public needs to be able to scrutinize procurement records to understand government decision-making and be engaged in the process. There is little reason not to publish this essential information proactively, so public bodies should implement a more transparent process from the beginning of all new projects.”
– Brian Beamish, Commissioner

 

Event Details:
Date & Time: Friday, September 25, 2015
Registration: 9:00 to 9:15 a.m.
Main Presentation: 9:15 to 10:00 a.m.
Panels: 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Main Presentation
Speakers: Brian Beamish, Commissioner David Orazietti, Minister of Government and Consumer Services Reg St-Amour, Vice Chair, Sault Area Hospital Board of Directors
Panel Presentations: Protecting personal health information in an electronic environment with Manuela Di Re, IPC Director of Legal Services and Debra Grant, IPC Director of Health
Policy Working towards a more transparent and accountable government with IPC Assistant Commissioners David Goodis and Sherry Liang
Location: Sault Area Hospital, Auditorium 750 Great Northern Road
Webcast Details: The live webcast will be available through the Telehealth Network:
9:15 – 11:00 a.m. Main Presentation and Panel A: Protecting personal health information in an electronic environment
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Panel B: Working towards a more transparent and accountable government

 

Right to Know Twitter Chat
To mark Right to Know Day on September 28 we will be co-hosting an hour-long Twitter chat about the power of Open Data and Access to Information with the Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression (@CanadaCJFE). We will discuss and share examples of the important work journalists and citizens do that relies on data made available by institutions, through either proactive disclosure or freedom of information requests. Follow the IPC on Twitter at @IPCInfoPrivacy and join the conversation at noon using the hashtag #RTKDchat.

About Right to Know Week
Celebrated in more than 40 countries around the world, the purpose of Right to Know Week (September 28 to October 4) is to raise awareness of an individual’s right to access government information, while promoting freedom of information as essential to both democracy and good governance.