In the current fiscal year there is an initiative underway within three British Columbia Provincial Government Ministries (MCFD, MEIA, MLCS) to create an integrated case management system. This new system will collect, store and disclose the personal information of the clients of these Ministries’ programs, whether the clients are served directly or through out-sourced services operated by third party organizations.
The Key Issue
The core issue of concern to organizations in the sector is: Contracted service organizations are unprepared to consider, understand and be fully accountable for the legislative, ethical and procedural issues involved in owning, holding custody of, disclosing to third parties, and protecting the privacy of, client information that has such profound privacy concerns in the proposed integrated case management system.
The Province, through several different Ministries, contracts out over $1.8B in social, employment and health services each year, covering a wide range of service and organizational types. The planned integrated case management system represents a major change in the legal environment and procedures and protocols for the thousands of community and non-profit organizations across BC contracted to provide services on behalf of the Government of BC. The implementation of this new system will have many implications, including deeply complex systemic changes in the way detailed personal information on clients is managed, protected, and transferred to and from these Ministries by community organizations.
The Research Initiative
This initiative, as a preventive legal intervention, will mainly focus on providing accurate legal context, interpretation and analysis of handling of private personal information within the new integrated case management system. This will provide important and critical information for community organizations to conduct effective risk assessments of their procedures for managing client information and to make adjustments required under the new regime of information transfer.
Research Project Sponsors
Law Foundation of British Columbia
This legal research initiative has been funded by a grant from the Law Foundation of British Columbia, a non-profit foundation created by legislation in 1969to receive and distribute the interest on clients’ funds held in lawyers’ pooled trust accounts maintained in financial institutions.
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
FIPA is a non-partisan, non-profit society that was established in 1991 to promote and defend freedom of information and privacy rights in Canada. Our goal is to empower citizens by increasing their access to information and their control over their own personal information. We serve a wide variety of individuals and organizations through programs of public education, public assistance, research, and law reform. FIPA is co-delivering this project with the United Community Services Co-op.
United Community Services Co-op
In 1998, a collection of community organizations came together and established the United Community Services Co-op – an organization focused on business services for the non-profit sector in BC: sharing services, pooling assets and resources, and negotiating collective business activities. This model has taken advantage of the synergies and economies of scale by working co-operatively to improve operational efficiencies and effectiveness, as well as to increase the business acumen in the community and non-profit sector. The UCS Co-op (BC 1998. CP1709) is a business leader that takes on critical cross-cutting issues for its owner-members. The UCS Co-op is co-delivering this project with FIPA.
PLEA Community Services Society
Through unique services tailored to individual strengths and needs, PLEA Community Services Society of BC helps children, youth, adults and families with significant challenges to lead fulfilling lives within their communities. PLEA is an accredited, community-based organization with a long-standing reputation for delivering high-quality, creative services in the Vancouver area. PLEA cares deeply about those who face real challenges in their lives and are passionately committed to their one-to-one style of working with people that is personal, effective and respectful. PLEA provides challenging services to consistent high standards and enjoys the creative process of building new services and finding new ways to more effectively meet client and community needs. PLEA is a community partner in this initiative.
Positive Living BC
Positive Living BC (formerly the BC Persons With AIDS Society) is a registered charitable society run by and for persons living with HIV disease and AIDS. In the words of its mission statement, Positive Living BC “exists to enable persons living with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and Human Immunodeficiency Virus to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action.” It is Western Canada’s largest AIDS organization with a membership of more than 4,400 HIV-positive full voting members. Positive Living BC is a community partner in this initiative.