ICBC has prevented public disclosure of documents that would have revealed advice, guidance and recommendations received prior to unilaterally terminating numerous agreements with the automotive industry in 2011. The Court, in this ICBC private documents case(Insurance Corporation of British Columbia v. Automotive Retailers Association,2013 BCSC 2025), quashed an earlier order of the Provinces Freedom of Information Commissioner requiring public disclosure, finding the disclosure was an unreasonable decision.
The Automotive Retailers Association represents 1,100 automotive industry businesses in British Columbia and negotiated a number of agreements on behalf of its members with ICBC, dealing with such matters as the pricing of auto glass replacement, collision repairs and towing services. Those agreements were unilaterally terminated in or around April 1, 2011 by ICBC. In protecting from disclosure the documents ICBC provided to the Competition Bureau the Court stated,
 Release of the Records would, in my view, defeat the purpose of s. 13, which is to protect a public body’s internal decision and policy making processes from disclosure, thereby encouraging the free and frank flow of advice and recommendations and to prevent the harm that would occur if the deliberative process was subject to excessive scrutiny: BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Assn at para. 64; College of Physicians and Surgeons, para. 104. It would be intolerable for a public body, such as ICBC, to be required to disclose for public scrutiny its internal, strategic policy-making process.
Issue: Does restricting public disclosure of ICBC offers of advice protect the public interest?
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.