Information access principals are emerging in non-governmental sectors

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Describe how information access principals are emerging in non-governmental sectors.

Once the public has lost trust in their government or in the non-governmental sector, it is difficult to restore stakeholder and investor confidence. Loss of trust can be accomplished in many ways, such as, poor access and privacy culture[i] at an organizational level.

Information access principals are emerging in non-governmental sectors as a culture of greater openness expands beyond government institutions to civil society organizations, “for reasons of efficiency and marking regulation, and for ethical or political motives”.[ii]

One organization for example, setting a ‘open and transparent’ precedence, is the Canadian Blood Services (CBS), responsible for the management of the blood supply in Canada. While trying to restore public trust, commitment and confidence in their operation of the blood system, and set them apart from their predecessor, CBS agreed to be openly accountable and transparent. One way they attempt accountability and transparency is by posting, meeting Agendas, Minutes, and Policies online, no request necessary. [iii]

The CBS website also boasts Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Information Policies[iv] which is somewhat similar to the outline of Canada’s Federal Access Legislation Access to Information Act (ATIA)[v], defining the purpose as, “to facilitate public access to information retained by CBS about the management and operations of the blood system…”. In this same document, you will find a section titled, Your Rights, where CBS has acknowledged the public’s ‘right to know’ by ensuring the facilitation of the public’s right to access information with limited exceptions to the right of access. This section also ensures an access and privacy office, the public can contact should questions or concerns arise, and works to complement the existing federal, provincial and territorial legislation or laws.[vi]

The CBS is not alone with emerging access principals, International bodies such as the Commonwealth has drafted legislation to promote freedom of information.[vii] I encourage you to read how the World Bank has gone even further and uses access to information as an empowerment strategy to increase assets and more.[viii] [i] IAPP Glossary of Terms ‘Culture’ :The shared patterns or behaviours and interactions, cognitive constructs, and affective understanding that are learned through a process of socialization, and the sum of “all those explicit and implicit, rational, irrational, and non-rational, historically created designs which exist at any given time as potential guides for human behaviour”.

[ii] EXIAPP8175 Information Access in a Liberal Democracy Module 2, Spring 2018, Page 9

[iii] https://blood.ca/en/about-us/board-minutes-and-calendars

[iv]http://web.archive.org/web/20071026003648/http://www.bloodservices.ca/CentreApps/Internet/UW_V502_MainEngine.nsf/page/E_Access?OpenDocument

[v] http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/A-1/

[vi]http://web.archive.org/web/20071026003648/http://www.bloodservices.ca/CentreApps/Internet/UW_V502_MainEngine.nsf/page/E_Access?OpenDocument

[vii] Module Page 9

[viii] http://go.worldbank.org/VELLT7XGR0

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