(Pexels photo)

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

British Columbia’s information and privacy commissioner will investigate a complaint by a coalition of First Nations over a lack of information from the province about the spread of COVID-19.

A notice from Commissioner Michael McEvoy’s office to the Heiltsuk Tribal Council, Tsilhqot’in National Government and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council says a written hearing will be conducted into their complaint.

The hearing, which will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health, will be followed by a written decision from McEvoy.

A schedule of submissions and responses is included in the letter, with the final date set for Oct. 22, but a date for a decision is not mentioned.

Indigenous leaders allege the Health Ministry violated the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act by failing to quickly disclose locations of COVID-19 cases and whether an infected person had travelled to a particular Nation’s territory within the previous 14 days.

The commissioner’s letter says the investigation was launched because “extensive communications” between First Nations and the Health Ministry before the complaint was lodged suggest an informal resolution is “unlikely to succeed.”

The complaint to the commissioner was filed by Indigenous governments representing communities on the Central Coast, Chilcotin and Vancouver Island after outbreaks in several communities.

Marilyn Slett, the chief councillor of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council, worked with the other Indigenous leaders to submit the complaint last Monday.

“The idea that we need to have an outbreak, as we have just had in our community, before B.C. will share information, is reckless and colonial, and it goes against B.C.’s own laws and promises of reconciliation,” Slett said in a news release the next day.

Two positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Heiltsuk territory off B.C.’s central coast more than a week ago.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Neil Fassina will become the new president of Okanagan College on April 1, 2021. (Contributed)
Okanagan College recruits new president

Current Athabasca University president Neil Fassina to replace Jim Hamilton on April 1, 2021

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

The total number of cases in the region is now at 644

Brian Shiosaki helps his neighbours by shoveling the sidewalk near his home in Rutland during a large snowfall in Kelowna Tuesday. (Carli Berry/Capital News)
Special weather statement in effect for Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan could see up to 15 centimeters of snow on Friday

Sprott Shaw College's Lunch with Santa, pictured here at Penticton's 2019 Christmas Parade, will be held virtually this year on Dec. 5. (Western News File)
Penticton Western News Publisher Warren Smith takes a look at the 2020 Best of the South Okanagan supplement appearing in today’s (Wednesday, Oct. 21) paper.
Hot off the Press: The Best of the South Okanagan

Check out Wednesday’s Penticton Western News for winners and favourites

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)
Kelowna Francophone school COVID-19 outbreak climbs to 5, mixture of students and staff

Health officer says situation evolving, spoke to possible closure, changes to provincial guidelines

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

RCMP detachments across B.C. are now flying Pride flags. (Submitted photo)
Man who spent 4 days injured on floor rescued by Kamloops Mountie

The man is recovering in hospital after being rescued by a police officer conducting a well-being check

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

A fundraiser for the Falkland Community Church is underway. (Photo submitted)
COVID-19 leaves Falkland Church in a lurch

Annual event/major fundraiser cancelled for first time in 34 years

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Five people with alleged ties to the Red Scorpion Gang are facing numerous charges. (Kelowna RCMP)
5 men linked to Red Scorpion gang charged with gun, drug offences in Kelowna

Police seized a machine gun as well as 5.5 kilograms of fentanyl and carfentanil

Most Read