Arising from the celebrations for Right to Know (RTK) Week, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) is launching the third RTK Week Essay Competition, along with sponsoring organizations, Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) and College of the North Atlantic (CNA).
This contest is open to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians studying at the secondary or post-secondary levels, as well as non-residents studying at Newfoundland and Labrador secondary and post-secondary institutions.
Entries are to be a maximum of 1,000 words, and must be submitted directly to the OIPC via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail, postmarked no later than December 31, 2012.
The address is: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, 2nd Floor, 34 Pippy Place, P.O. Box 13004, Station A, St. John’s, N.L., A1B 3V8.
The purpose of RTK Week, Sept. 24-28, is to raise awareness of individual’s right to access government information, while promoting freedom of information as essential to both democracy and good governance.
The essay competition is aimed at furthering this purpose, particularly among students.
Entrants are asked to write on the timely topic of amendments to provincial access to information legislation. Bill 29 contained a number of amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA), which were debated in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly in June 2012, and are now in force. In reflecting upon these developments, students are asked to address how changes to the act impacted the right of access to information, either positively or negatively, in this province.
Also, they are asked to address whether those changes helped to achieve balance between protecting the right of access to information and ensure the provincial government and other public bodies are able to keep certain information confidential in order to operate effectively.
The winning essay writer in this year’s competition will be awarded at $400 prize, with the second and third place prizes valued at $150 and $50, respectively. In addition to cash awards, the winning essays may also be published on the OIPC website. Award-winning essays are chosen anonymously by a panel of judges representing the organizations involved.
For full contest details and restrictions, please see the OIPC website at www.oipc.nl.ca.