To Boost Transparency, UPEI Eases Access to Information

    May 08, 2017

    CBC news recently reported that the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) is catching up with other Canadian universities by adopting a new policy that sets out to make it easier to access information.

    The new policy, which takes effect this month, sets forth a process on how to apply for information, and it describes when the university can withhold data. The policy will be overseen, and enforced, by a newly hired privacy officer.

    "We want to be transparent. We want to have a more open and transparent type of policy in place," said Jackie Podger, UPEI's vice-president administration and finance.

    UPEI’s existing privacy policy, in place since 2004, does not set out to help people access information, but is there solely to "provide for the protection and privacy of personal information held by the University."

    The Student Union there said it would also like to see P.E.I. colleges and universities included under the province's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. 

    "A large amount of tax dollars are going into this university," said Johnathan Rix, the union's vice-president external. "So [the P.E.I. government's] oversight would provide a lot more accountability, rather than the people overseeing the budgets themselves doing their own access to information rulings.”

    It’s unclear if the P.E.I. government intends to add colleges and universities to its freedom of information act.  In an e-mail to CBC, a spokesperson said the province has asked post-secondary institutions "to look at their own capacity to be more proactive in providing information."


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