(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

The RCMP photo shows cannabis that was seized as part of the E-Prominent investigation. (RCMP)
Four Langley and Surrey men charged in 2019 pot export case

Warrants were executed on properties in Surrey, Langley and Delta in June and August 2019

Not everybody lined up to vote on Saturday. In Surrey, 68,396 mail-in ballots still need to be counted for the final election tally. (Black Press Media)
North Surrey voters steer left, South Surrey voters steer right

Once again, it’s NDP orange in the city’s north end, Liberal red in the south

Hundreds of people gathered in White Rock last year to participate in the annual Remembrance Day ceremony – but due to COVID-19, the city’s ceremony this year will be online only. (File photo)
White Rock chooses ‘virtual’ Remembrance Day

Due to COVID-19 the Nov. 11 ceremony will be online only

A pair of Surrey Eagles fight for a puck against Langley during a game last season. The two teams were set for an exhibition game last weekend, but it was cancelled after an unnamed member of the Eagles tested positive for COVID-19. However, no other team member has tested positive so far, leading the BCHL to call it an 'isolated incident.' (Garrett James photo)
No additional positive COVID-19 tests for Surrey Eagles so far: BCHL

All but one test has been processed, with no further players or staff infected, league says

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Christian school in Chilliwack closes for COVID-19 isolation measures, moving to online learning

Mt. Cheam school principal confirms coronavirus exposure led to staffing reduction and need to close

Swoop Airlines. (Contributed)
Daily direct flights between Abbotsford and Toronto start Wednesday

Swoop announces new operations at Toronto Pearson Airport

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Graphic on promo material for Best Buy Canada’s Tech Wonderland event.
Drive-through ‘Tech Wonderland’ coming to PNE site a few weeks before Christmas

Best Buy Canada-backed ‘holiday’ event to raise money for charity

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Most Read