BCLC Criticized Because of Information Request Fee

Publish: 20.01.2018

The Unite Here union, representing a number of casino workers, has announced that British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) responded to its enquiry to see the communication records between the provincial regulator and Great Canadian Gaming Corporation over the past five years, by stating that the costs of such an action will cost more than $400,000!

BCLC claims it needs a little over 16,800 hours to complete this freedom of information request, with a minimum of half of this amount to be paid up front, before the actual work even starts.

An Unbelievably High Fee

This news comes amid the recently uncovered scandal regarding the money laundering in some British Columbia casinos.

These allegations were made in a publication released in September last year by Attorney General David Eby, following a 2016 report that revealed the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation easily accepted large amounts of unsourced cash at its British Columbia venues, including the River Rock Casino Resort near Vancouver.

Commenting on the response his organization received from BCLC, Marc Hollin from Unite Here said the public had every right to gain access to documents relating to anti-money laundering compliance in Canadian casinos.

You Can Request It, But Can You Pay It?

Although the requested fee is astronomically high, it is stipulated under the provincial Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act. However, such levies are rarely instituted, especially if the action is of great public interest.

And while Holin hopes the British Columbia Lottery Corporation will waive the duty, local transparency and privacy advocate Vincent Gogolek believes the size of the fee raises suspicion. Gogolek said the wasn’t sure how much information justified such a bill.

He stated this was the largest freedom of information request fee he had ever seen, and added it looked like someone didn’t want to turn over information.

According to him, charging half a million dollars for a request sends a more than a clear message.