OIPC directs ICBC to release documents to ARA

On October 22, 2012 Michael McEvoy, Assistant Commissioner, Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) issued Order F12-14 in response to the ARA’s application to see correspondence and associated records between ICBC and the federal Competition Bureau.

The order requires ICBC to release a substantial portion, but not all of the subject information, to the ARA within 30 days. The summary section of the order is as follows:

“The ARA requested correspondence and associated records between ICBC and the federal Competition Bureau. ICBC withheld some of the information on the basis that it constituted advice and recommendations and it was subject to solicitor-client privilege. ICBC also argued that in accordance with the doctrine of paramountcy of federal legislation, FIPPA did not apply in this case because it was in conflict with federal legislation. The Assistant Commissioner found that the doctrine of paramountcy did not apply because there was no valid federal law that applied with respect to the records in the custody and control of ICBC. The Assistant Commissioner found that solicitor-client privilege applied to all of the records for which ICBC claimed this exception. With respect to the remaining information, the Assistant Commissioner determined that the advice and recommendations exception authorized ICBC to withhold some but not all of the information it claimed under this exception.”

While the ARA can, to a certain degree, regard the OIPC findings a partial victory, we must wait until we receive the documents ICBC has been ordered to release before we can determine how the information contained in those documents may be useful to us. All along, the ARA’s intention in this undertaking has been to find ways to return to a climate of working directly with ICBC on behalf of industry in matters related to rate setting and other relevant issues.

Also, please note that ICBC may apply for Judiciary Review by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in this matter if it chooses. We expect to be able to report further by the end of November.