By joining other countries around the globe in Celebrating Right to Know Week from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, Nova Scotia is underlining its commitment to improved transparency in government.
Right to Know Week helps raise awareness of the public’s right to access government information and promotes freedom of information as a fundamental democratic right.
In January 2017, as part of government’s continued commitment to strengthen access for Nova Scotians, government will launch an online system for making access to information requests. As well, some completed freedom of information and protection of privacy (FOIPOP) requests will be posted online. Information related to child and youth services, personal information or confidential business information will not be released online.
The Information Access and Privacy Services 2015/2016 Annual Report shows that there have been steady improvements in the turnaround times of requests. Government offices received 2,285 FOIPOP applications and completed 81 per cent of the responses within 30 days, an increase from 78 per cent in 2014. Centralizing these services has provided more timely and consistent responses to applicants.
Government’s recent efforts to increase transparency include:
–-requiring forest harvesters leasing Crown land to post proposed harvest site maps online for public comment before final harvest decisions are made
–-adding of provincial, county and facility wait times for nursing homes and residential care facilities to the wait time page of Health and Wellness website, including how many people are waiting for a long-term care bed
–-posting of information on funding agreements, as well as six-month progress updates on targets, on the Department of Business accountability website
–-development of Fisheries and Aquaculture’s online mapping tool with information about existing and potential aquaculture sites around the province.
Government’s Open Data portal at https://data.novascotia.ca/ provides Nova Scotians with free, easy access to provincial government data. It allows the public to access more than 300 different data sets ranging from weather, traffic volumes, public tender awards, maps and more.
To read the Information Access and Privacy Services Annual Report 2015-2016 visit http://novascotia.ca/is/reports.asp