Information Access Operations Career Opportunities

Information Access Operations Overview

Information Access Operations (IAO) is a newly created division within Shared Services BC, under the Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government. IAO is responsible for providing services that assist public bodies in fulfilling their statutory duties under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) and the Document Disposal Act (DDA).

IAO processes all freedom of information access to records requests received by the B.C. government; provides operational policy direction and advice to ministry executive, management and staff on records management and access to information matters.

IAO promotes openness, transparency and accountability and supports the rights of citizens and organizations to access government records. For more information, please visit the IAO website.

Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information supports access to information for citizens; provides for informed public debate and creates greater citizen participation in the democratic process. Freedom of information legislation also serves to protect public safety, the business interests of third parties and the personal privacy of citizens.

Working in the field of information management, especially access to information, is rewarding and exciting! Every day is different and brings new challenges.

Information and privacy analysts play a vital role in supporting the freedom of information and privacy rights of British Columbians. Analysts manage all access to records requests received by the B.C. government in accordance with FOIPPA. On behalf of their designated client ministries, analysts working within IAO applicants (for example, individuals, media organizations and special interest groups) with requested information to better understand a government program, decision or issue, but also ensures information that cannot be released (such as to protect a law enforcement matter) is not released.

An information and privacy analyst is a project manager, mediator, coordinator, consultant, researcher, and negotiator all rolled into one; they establish and maintain effective working relationships with ministry clients, all applicants, sectors, partners and stakeholders.

Consider a Career as a Freedom of Information Analyst

As a proud member of the Information Access Operations Branch, you will lead and deliver optimal services on behalf of the Province of British Columbia, in fulfilling the obligations under FOIPPA.

The vital role of a Freedom of Information (FOI) analyst requires an excellent communicator, one who has the ability to research, analyze and provide concise verbal and written responses to requests for confidential and complex information within specified timeframes. You also have the ability to translate legislative provisions into consistent and appropriate severing decisions and can articulate the rationale for those decisions.  

FOI analysts are independent, confident decision makers and are experienced in mediation and conflict resolution. They anticipate trends, understand high profile, complex issues, research sensitive information, gather facts and coordinate timely responses. 

You will work with a variety of individuals and applicant types, including special interest groups, law firms, media, political groups, businesses and law enforcement. You are tactful, diplomatic and adept at resolving conflicting priorities. You will work under tight legislated timelines, and review and analyze large amounts of information in order to interpret and apply the legislation.

The FOI analyst functions effectively in a dynamic, fast-paced environment and enjoys the challenge of ensuring appropriate, timely responses to complex access requests. You will work closely with other FOI professionals on a collaborative, high functioning team. You will provide an important service for British Columbia and embark on an exciting career with plenty of learning and growth potential.

If you have a desire to succeed and achieve, and are seeking a rewarding and challenging career opportunity in a high profile environment, consider joining the IAO team!

Career Profile: FOI Analyst

Freedom of Information Analyst Profile

0:03. Text on screen: Why choose the public service?

Ray: So I came out of university and I was looking for a good career and I was looking for a good employer. I read up that the BC Government offered some really good, innovative solutions for bringing people aboard and promoting them from within. They offered things like Pacific Leaders Scholarships, which would pay for your schooling and promote your career advancement, and with all the turnover and retirements coming up, I thought, hey, this would be a perfect place for a young person to get into.

0:33. Text on screen: What is satisfying about what you do?

Mark: We’re on the front lines in making sure that the information the public needs gets out to the public and it feels really good when applicants are satisfied at the end of their request that they have received the information they really needed. Sometimes you’ll turn on the news the next night and you’ll see some of the information you provided a week earlier and that’s really rewarding.

Justine: You do learn something new every single time you read a record. So if you enjoy reading, you’re going to love this job.

1:05. Text on screen: Do you feel what you do has a lasting impact?

Blake:  Showing people how government works, we can have people check to make sure that basically in government we’re doing it right. So I think that the FOI work that I do, as small and individual as it is, is really contributing to public education about government, but it’s also helping us with scrutiny of our methods and maybe help us develop better methods for the future.

1:30. Text on screen: So your job isn’t to withhold information from the public?

Justine: I think that’s the biggest presumption, that government won’t share; and that’s what we’re here to do, as an analyst, is be able to give people what they’re entitled to, and what they need to have.

1:47. Text on screen: What kind of person is suited to being an FOI analyst?

Ray: You are having to liaise with clients, you are having to liaise with people out there in the field, your fellow government employees and also people within your office. We have a very open and innovative culture in IAO. That’s a very important thing. So you need to be very personable. Again, attention to detail is so important, to be able to find the complete record and to be able to read the legislation correctly. I would say, have an analytical mind and be very open to problem-solving. No two days are going to be exactly the same and if you like that kind of environment, I would say this position would very much be for you.

2:17. Text on screen: What misconceptions did you have about this kind of work before joining?

Off set: So, do you really juggle?

Blake: Yeah, I do. When I got the call, I was working as a baker in a bakery that, even though the work was really difficult, I was really enjoying and there was a great team mentality. And I had worked in places where there wasn’t a great team mentality.  I almost didn’t take the job despite the fact that it had higher pay. I was worried about working in government and sitting in front of a computer and being bored out of my mind. The thing that shocked me is that the work was really interesting, the people were enthusiastic, and there were fun, social things that really made the team feel stronger. That same teamwork mentality that works in a high pressure bakery works in government.

Ray: I think overall it’s the attitude, the mindset, that you bring to this position, more so than where you’ve been, and just coming in and smiling and having laughs with your fellow co-workers. All in all, I would say it is an absolutely fantastic place to work.

When You Apply

Prior to applying on FOI positions in IAO, please review our website to learn more about our services, the FOI process and the core services.

Applicants will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their education and experience prior to moving forward in the selection process.    

Candidates who meet the education and experience requirements will then be asked to participate in the next step of the process, an online assessment. The online assessment is a tool developed by an industrial psychologist in which candidate responses are assessed on some of the behavioural competencies required for the position, as per the benchmark for the position. 

Privacy considerations: a unique identifier will be sent to each candidate in order to protect their privacy when completing the online assessment. The assessment is facilitated through a private vendor.  

Once the online assessment is completed, candidates who have been shortlisted will be moved to the next step of the process. Typically this consists of an oral interview but may also include other testing such as written assignments, and for finalist candidates, reference checks. (Reference checking with current and previous employers is required as a condition of being considered for employment in the BC Public Service.)

The final step for finalist candidates is a criminal record check.  

For further information, please contact Elizabeth Vander Beesen, Director, Staff Administration, Information Access Operations at (250) 387-1430 or via email at Elizabeth.vanderbeesen@gov.bc.ca.

Records Management

Managing recorded information is vital to government's ability to deliver services to the people of British Columbia. For example, records detail the government's services, activities, processes and contracts, as well as client and stakeholder information. Records are key to good decision making, protecting the interests of citizens and documenting the history of the province. Good management of government's electronic and physical records is even more important than the records themselves.

Records analysts within IAO provide tools, direction, advice and support for the creation, security, accessibility, retention, disposition and preservation of records in offices across government and in the broader public sector. Constantly reviewing trends and standards, records analysts promote best practices in the use of classification and retention systems (ARCS, ORCS), Enterprise Document and Records Management Systems, off-site storage and other tools to help clients to manage their physical and digital records.

An IAO records analyst is at times a project manager, client service manager, subject matter expert, consultant, researcher and innovative problem solver. They establish and maintain relationships with clients and service providers across the province with one goal in mind: better services and value to the public through excellent information management.

IAO Organization

The IAO consists of five units:

Administration Provides central administrative support to IAO through such as financial operations, accounts payables/receivables; human resources, facilities, records management; and general administrative/secretarial support. IAO administration also serves as a central point of contact for the public and ministry clients.
Records Management Operations (RMO) Supports a government-wide framework for the management of recorded information. The creation, security, accessibility, retention, disposition and preservation of records. This framework includes policies, standards and strategic direction for client operations as identified by the Ministry Access and Records Services Teams. RMO enables compliance with the Document Disposal Act and core policy. Services include: training, classification and scheduling systems (ARCS and ORCS); records management system implementation, contracted records storage, retrieval and destruction services; and archival appraisal and selection.
Intake Services Is the first point of contact for the receipt of access requests for records held by ministries under FOIPPA. Intake services also assists the public with access to routinely available information and records, provides cross government request coordination and is responsible for setting data entry standards, managing, tracking and reporting on all requests for information received by the B.C. government.
Ministry Access and Records Services Teams Serves as the first point of contact for designated ministry clients. They provide front-line FOI request processing services, records management and advisory services.  They work closely with clients to identify needs, establish priorities and provide liaison services between clients and other IAO service providers. IAO Ministry Access and Records Services Teams also provide project management services or assistance for approved information access and/or records management projects.
Personal Access Services Processes requests for personal information made to ministries such as the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Ministry of Housing and Social Development, Ministry of Attorney General, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and the BC Public Service Agency.