Volunteers file 60 access to information requests for all 60 BC public K-12 districts

60 for 60.

60 information access requests filed with the British Columbia Ministry of Health for communications pertaining to COVID-19 confirmed case information sent to each of the 60 public K-12 school districts.

I want to give a huge heartfelt THANK YOU to our team of dedicated volunteers.

Make no mistake, this is still only the beginning.

The fight for this information will be won. However, it will take time and it will likely require complaining to the privacy commissioner.

The BC NDP government leaves us no choice. How do I know this?

Our campaign started on September 20. Most of our volunteers haven't been responded to by information access managers. Not even to acknowledge the request.

Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act Section 25, there is a requirement that this type of information be provided to the public without request and without delay.

Are you surprised John Horgan’s NDP would rather do this the hard way? Yeah, me neither. I think the notification systems restored September 28 by the Ministry of Health, such as this one hosted by Vancouver Coastal Health, do not come close to satisfying Section 25.

Why? There's no visibility into the severity of the COVID-19 situation from one place to another. One blanket exposure notice and a string of dates for an entire school? This is not good enough.

How about case data? As in, how many cases in each of these schools? Knowing the number of confirmed cases gives people a sense of the community viral load. As unclear of a picture as this is given the continued insistence upon symptoms-based testing and limited testing centres that are few and far between.

That is why, in our requests, we are asking for all records of confirmed cases of COVID-19 by school, for each school district, for records of both single confirmed cases and for outbreaks or clusters. Including records that may have been withheld.

This is survival information and we demand it immediately.

If this government’s claim that it wants to be the “authoritative source,” for COVID-19 case data is true, then they really ought to provide the public with useful information. Not just the bare minimum they think might let them skate in a complaint to the privacy commissioner.

That's all. Just give us our data.

-Mike McCulloch, parent, Safe Schools Coalition BC volunteer