A tweet sees Vancouver police FOI process enter the digital age

The Vancouver Police Department now accepts freedom of information requests submitted via email.

Until today, requests made to the VPD under B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act had to be mailed or faxed.

“The Information and Privacy Unit does not accept FOI requests or other correspondence by e-mail or by the Internet,” a line of bolded text previously stated on the VPD’s website.

In addition, the form provided there could not be edited or saved, which forced people seeking information to print the document and complete it with a pen or pencil. (#FirstWorldProblems.)

Those policies made the VPD the odd one out when it came to FOI procedures in Vancouver and British Columbia.

Provincial ministries and the City of Vancouver have long provided for FOI requests to be submitted electronically, and supply PDFs that can be filled out, saved, and submitted online.

I complained about all of this on Twitter today. And much to my pleasant surprise, the VPD has since changed its stated policy on FOI requests.

FOI requests filed with the VPD can now be submitted electronically by emailing foi@vpd.ca.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Update: In a subsequent message posted on Twitter, the Vancouver Police Department stated that it has accepted FOI request via email "for some time", but that its website was not updated to reflect that.

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