Information in the public interest has long been available for all to see, from court cases to property values.
The internet has made these documents more accessible than ever to the public, including the news media.
Here’s a list of a few records in B.C. you might have thought were private, but are definitely not.
B.C. Court Services Online
Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms upholds the principle that an open court supports public confidence and understanding in the justice system.
B.C. Court Services Online is a database of criminal files, traffic offences, civil cases and even family court.
If you or your lawyer files a lawsuit, or if you’ve stood in front of a judge in criminal or divorce court, the transcript of the hearings or the judge’s decisions, or both, are available at the courthouse or online. Exceptions include issues of personal safety or privacy.
That means anyone can view your name, the other parties’ names, and the contents of the case, providing they know the case is even happening.
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal rules on complaints of discrimination based on age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, family status, disability, and more on issues such as employment, tenancy, access to a public place such as a school, restaurant, or hotel.
The tribunal is a quasi-judicial body, so if you file a complaint, or if someone files one about you, any decisions made by the tribunal members are publicly available.
Regulator authorities are responsible by law for setting out and enforcing standards of a profession in order to serve and protect the public.
In B.C., this includes physicians, psychologists, social workers, dietitians, teachers, lawyers, police officers, architects, accountants, forestry workers, securities professionals, real estate agents, and others.
If you make a complaint, or a complaint is made about you, any resulting decisions may be published online to protect public safety.
The assessed value of a property is publicly available on BC Assessment’s website, as well as its owners’ names, square footage, number of bathrooms, previous sales, and more.