Foi in Ontario - positive signs

In her annual report, Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's information and privacy commissioner, has highlighted reports of positive developments in protecting citizens' private information, while allowing them more access to public data.

Last year the commission invoked for the first time ever its power to order a government to stop collecting information and instead destroy it - as was the case concerning an Ottawa byelaw that allowed police and the city to gather personal information about anyone selling second-hand goods.

Premier Dalton McGuinty's government received warm praise from Cavoukian, who reports directly to the legislature, for its creation of an information and privacy officer and its establishment of a government procurement website where public contracts will be made available.

Freedom of information requests totalled 38,584 last year, up from 36,739 in 2006.

Requests denied rose to 34.5 per cent from 34.4 per cent and requests partly allowed rose to 30.3 per cent from 29.5 per cent.

Official happy with progress (London Free Press, 23 May 2008)