NEW – OIPC Decision – Coquitlam School District

A New OIPC Decision was posted on April 15th involving the Coquitlam School District. Order F24-30

This is quite a unique decision involving a school district, compared with other decisions I have read. Particularly because I have never seen this section of the FIPPA used before. Section 14 – Solicitor-client privilege.

In some decisions involving all sorts of organizations, the respondents will suddenly be willing to disclose some of the previously withheld documents, only when the inquiry with the adjudicator starts. This is also the case here.

Do organizations just do that kind of stuff in hopes the applicant doesn’t have the stamina to last through these processes?

The summary by the OIPC is clear.

“An applicant made an access request and a privacy complaint to the Board of Education of School District No. 43 (School District) regarding a single email communication between the School District and an independent school. Initially, the School District withheld the email under s. 14 (solicitor-client privilege) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and disagreed with the applicant’s privacy complaint. However, during the inquiry, the School District determined that s. 14 did not apply and it disclosed the email to the applicant. It also acknowledged that it disclosed the applicant’s personal information without authority under FIPPA. The adjudicator determined that the issues in dispute were moot and there were no factors that warranted continuing the inquiry. Therefore, the adjudicator cancelled the inquiry.” (

What do you think of this?

Keep in mind, that this process takes years to wait for an inquiry. Years.

The school district was then paying lawyers to defend them through all of this.

When you think of it…. this parent’s tax dollars were going towards a school district that was paying lawyers to fight them over documents they should have had access to and their privacy was compromised.

Don’t we have school districts complaining of lack of funding?

When reading the details of this inquiry. It’s very interesting….

[11] The applicant’s child transferred from an Independent School to a school within the School District (Public School).

[12] In 2019, the applicant asked the principal of the Public School if any staff from the Public School and the Independent School had communicated about his child. The applicant and the principal exchanged several emails on the subject.

[13] In May 2021, legal counsel for the Independent School contacted the principal of the Public School to get information about whether the Independent School and the Public School had communicated about the applicant’s child. The Public School’s principal responded by email on May 12, 2021. In this email, the principal summarized his efforts to determine whether the communications took place and included a copy of the emails that he and the applicant exchanged in 2019.

[22] The parties agree that s. 14 does not apply to the information in dispute and the School District disclosed the email to the applicant.13 Given that all the information in dispute in this inquiry has been released to the applicant, I find that any order I make would not have a practical effect on the applicant’s right to access the information in dispute. As a result, I find that the issue of whether the School District is authorized to refuse the applicant access to the May 2021 email is moot.

Very interesting. I have so many questions.

[31] The parties agree that the 2021 email constituted a disclosure of the applicant’s personal information that was not authorized by FIPPA.17 The School District submits the unauthorized disclosure was quickly contained because the Independent School’s legal counsel recognized there may be privacy concerns about her receiving the email and immediately deleted it.18 The applicant does not challenge the veracity of the School District’s claim that the legal counsel immediately deleted the email in question.

So…if I am understanding this decision correctly.. lawyers from one school cannot contact another school and obtain information about a student/parents without the consent of the parent, even though they are lawyers?

Good to know.

As always, a big thank you to the parents who saw this through to hold the district accountable and provide us with an opportunity for learning and understanding the system. I am happy to see they had an outcome in their favour.

Ok parent(s)/guardians, keep this in mind for custody disputes, family court matters, human rights complaints, etc.

For anyone going through this process, the OIPC has a guide for completing written submissions.

Teachers Regulation Branch (BC) vs. Ontario College of Teachers

There are a lot of differences between what happens in BC and what happens in Ontario.

For starters, parents in Ontario get a copy of what parents submit to the college when a complaint is filed by a parent.

In BC, we have to submit a Freedom of Informaiton request, and we are blocked from accessing such information. (OIPC complaint in process. I’ll keep you posted on that.)

But for now…

Let us start by comparing websites.

Website Comparison

Ontario Teacher’s College

They have a tab called “Public Protection” & They have a “Parents” tab

ID: 5 tabs, public protection, parents, members, becoming a teacher, about the college. Under public protection 12 more tab options. Link to the website page is here.

Under Public Protection, you can see that they easily have a tab for professional standards.

The parents tab is highlighted. 6 tabs clearly indicated. Link to the website page is


They also have their accessibility policies easy to access.

Easy to find the annual reports listed in the tab below.

The About the College tab is highlighted with 14 tabs. The link to the website is

BC Teacher’s Regulation Branch Website

No easily accessible information for parents. I feel that their website is a maze of information and you just have to move through everything. This is not accessible to various groups of people.

I cannot find anything about accessibility policies or any kind of commitment to anti-oppression, equity, diversity and inclusion. If it’s there, I don’t know where. And here is a game to play. Who can find the annual reports? I know where they are, so I know how hard it is to find them. Let’s see if you can find them?

Let’s look at their website and if you were a parent, how would you find out about information regarding this process and what you would need to file a complaint.

This is the main page that you start off looking at.

Under the Information about teaching in British Columbia, you can click on the 3rd item where it says “Read the standards of the Teaching profession”. Which in my mind, looks like an area for teachers.

Ministry of Education in Education and Child Care. 3 Sections, with bullet points and various tabs. The website link to this page.

Then the “Make a complaint or report about a certified teacher” will bring you to Commissioner page. (This has recently been redesigned)

Green band at the top with has a new design! Learn more link. This page is the Commissioner for Teacher Regualation with tabs located to the left and General information below. The website link to this page.

You then need to lick on Make a Teacher Complaint.

Or, you can click on the Discipline Outcomes.

You reach this area.

This is the Discipline Outcomes page with a list of the most recent outcomes in the last year. The website link to the page.

Then you need to click on the find out more about the discipline process.

This has recently changed since January 8th, 2024.

Then you need to click on Make a Teacher Complaint. This is the first page that says the word “parent”.

This page is the Make a Teacher Complaint to the Commissioner for Teacher Regulation with tabs on the left and general information down the center for parents, students, staff or other members of the public. The website link to this page.

It used to look like this.

The Discipline Process is outlined with more tabs on the left than the new page. Very text heavy. Same info as the this page, here is the link.

They have two paths to find the teacher standards.

One way, is through the discipline outcome page. To find the teacher standards document to know if they have even broken one in order to file a complaint, you need go back to this page.

Same discipline outcomes page as shown above with the list of discipline outcomes for the last year. Here is the link.

And click on “read about the standards for educators”

And then search on this page.

Here is the Standards for educators page with lots of text and tabs to click on. Here is the website link to this page.

And then click on “BC Educator Standards” to be brought to this page.

This is the Standards for educators page with lots of clickable links. More like a list of tabs/headings. Here is the website link to the page.

To yet, then need to continue to click on another link, the standards for certificate of qualification.

Here is another page that says Standards with lists of clickable links. Here is the website link to this page.

To then know to click on the first link to be finally be brought to the PDF standards document.

Seriously, they couldn’t make it any harder if they tried.

You need to be willing and able to spend hours just going through the maze and reading everything.

OR the second way is to click on Make a Teacher Complaint and find the link in the second paragraph. Then you will still be brought back to the other pages as I showed above.

So, this is the page that explicitly says who can file a complaint and info intended for parents.

This is the Make a Teacher Complaint to the Commissioner for Teacher Regulation Branch. Tabs on the left with written paragraphs down the center with 3 clickable links. Here is the link to this website page.

So now, who was able to find the annual reports?

You have to go back to MEET THE COMMISSIONER and scroll all the way down to the bottom on that page.

You literally just have to spend hours clicking on all of the links, because just by hovering over the tabs it doesn’t indicate to you what the other tabs are inside. So…grab some coffee and hunker down.


Now, let’s look at other differences.

Ontario Teacher’s College and why they exist. What pops out to me is the focus on public interest.

Says The College at a Glance with 2 sections both with minimal text and pictures. What we do (We licence and regulate teachers who work in publicly funded schools and many private schools in Ontario). Why we exist. (We serve and protect the public interest. We ensure that only safe, qualified and competent teachers are certified to teach your children.)

Teachers Regulation Branch

I have no idea where their mandate or goals, or guiding principles are located.

Is it this?

Commissioner for Teacher Regulation: The Commissioner reviews reports and complaints about the conduct or competence of educators and decides which process is appropriate to address a complaint or report. Link to Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

Is this it?

Clip of a link found on Google. Says: Teacher Regulation Branch Investigations. The TRB is mandated under the Teachers Act to regulate the professional conduct and competency of TRB members.

To anyone in the Minstry of Education, can you please redo your website (again) and make it more accessible for parents to access information?

Clearly, not in the public interest.

Thank you.

Annual Report Season

Hello All,

Below are links to a collection of annual reports for the following organizations. I find the data fascinating and a window into what they are willing to share with us. These are all current annual reports for their 2021-2022 periods.

Here are the list of links,

Human Rights Tribunal – 35 pages
BC Office of Human Rights Commissioner -43 pages
Community Legal Assistance Society – 26 pages
Ombudsperson – 92 pages
Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner – 36 pages
Ministry of Education and Childcare – 22 pages
Inclusion BC – 27 pages
Family Support Institute -24 pages
Ministry of Family and Child Development – 19 pages
Representative of Children and Youth – 132 pages
Teacher’s Regulation Branch – 27 pages

The one I am STILL waiting for is the Teacher Regulation Branch annual report…. I’ll add it when it comes out.

I encourage you all to take an internet deep dive and find organizations or ministries that interest you and read their annual reports.

What kind of annual reports are you interested in reading about?

Happy discovering!!