(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

Just Posted

Comox Valley Unhoused executive director Sam Franey, right, is pictured at the Comox Valley Art Gallery with Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, and Ronna-Rae Leonard, BC NDP candidate for the Courtenay—Comox riding. Scott Stanfield photo
Housing, for the unhoused, by the unhoused

Comox Valley man dedicated to battling homelessness after spending five years on the streets

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

Environment Canada is releasing scientific evidence to support banning most single-use plastics next year, in a Jan. 30, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Editorial: Ban on single-use plastics dwarfed by pandemic plastic pollution

It’s a step in the right direction but we have a long march ahead of us

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

An artists rendering of the proposed Aragon Properties development in Sooke’s town centre shows a friendly, walkable neighbourhood. (Contributed graphic)
Large housing development eyed for Sooke core

Aragon Properties seeks to build 132 housing units

The Capital Regional District spent $1.7 million to restore the Todd Creek Trestle. (Sooke News Mirror)
Todd Creek Trestle restoration completed

Restoration work adds 35 to 50 years to life span of former rail span near Sooke

Bill Kelly, general manager at Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community, has been named executive professional of the year by the PGA of BC. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay golf course, general manager earn PGA of BC awards

Crown Isle’s manager, facility honoured by the industry

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read