Calytera Blog
Freedom of Information Insights from Government Professionals
June 19, 2019
By Calytera

Last week, several members of our team, along with our partner CGI, participated in the Access and Privacy conference hosted by the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension. It was a chance to hear from government professionals about how they manage Freedom of Information requests from their citizens, and where technology may be able to help. We were able to talk to many attendees about our new Amanda FOI Solution which can make both responding to FOI requests and meeting compliance and reporting requirements more efficient and more collaborative.

One clear theme that emerged from the event is that the number of FOI requests received by governments of all types and all sizes continues to grow. This makes having a system to respond to requests as quickly as possible while maintaining legal, regulatory, and privacy requirements even more critical for governments.

Governments have realized the key to maintaining customer service and turnaround time goals while meeting these requests is collaboration between government departments. That was the theme of Canada Information Commissioner Caroline Manyard’s keynote address on the first day of the conference. The Collaboration Portal of our new Amanda FOI solution allows government departments to collaborate and effectively handle FOI requests and our Requestor Portal allows citizens to submit requests for information and see the status of their requests online.

Another key need of governments is advanced redaction capability. When responding to FOI requests, government professionals need to protect the privacy of other citizens and meet legal and regulatory requirements regarding information disclosure, requiring them to redact certain information in their responses. Our new solution has an industry-leading integrated redaction capability making that process much easier and more efficient for customers.

During the event, our Senior Vice President of Sales, John Hanby introduced British Columbia Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy for his keynote address on day two of the event.

Commissioner McEvoy spoke about the privacy-related challenges facing governments and the Cambridge Analytica Investigation. John also presented the annual 2019 IAPP Program Award at the conference. This scholarship, which CSDC sponsors, is awarded each year to the student in the Information Access and Protection of Privacy Program at the University of Alberta with the highest grade point average.

If you are responsible for managing FOI requests for a government and would like to know more about how the Amanda FOI solution can help, please get in touch with us.