OFAH wants provincial government to resolve privacy and postage issues
PETERBOROUGH, ON, May 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario anglers and hunters who have renewed their Outdoors Card, purchased a game license or entered a game draw through the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) in recent months are familiar with the province's new Licensing Automation Service (LAS). Replacing the outdated paper system is a suite of options including Internet, Telephone Application System (TAS), ServiceOntario centres and local license issuers. However, awarding the LAS contract to the US-based firm Active Outdoors, slow implementation, and system glitches have plagued the new service.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) has worked with the MNR since the launch to try to address some of the problems encountered with LAS, but two major issues remain unresolved.
"We are appalled that money from the province's Special Purpose Account (SPA), which is primarily funded through fishing and hunting license fees and is designed to support fish and wildlife programming, is being used to mail Ontario game licenses from the contractor's operation in Nashville, Tennessee," said Angelo Lombardo, OFAH Executive Director. "Every piece of mail being sent from the US is costing the SPA 16 cents more than a Canadian stamp. Tens of thousands of dollars slated for fish and wildlife are going to be wasted on the US Postal service if the MNR doesn't correct this issue. In this economic climate, Ontario taxpayers expect their government to spend SPA funds here at home on much needed support for fish and wildlife programs."
The OFAH has heard from many members who are deeply concerned about the loss of privacy that is inherent in having MNR licensing information stored in the US. Despite assurances from the MNR that their data is secure, OFAH members have expressed their frustration with having their personal information stored outside of Ontario, particularly as all data gathered by a company that operates in the US is subject to the US Patriot Act.
"These glaring issues leave us wondering if all aspects of moving to LAS were fully considered during the tendering process. On behalf of Ontario's anglers and hunters, we have submitted a Freedom of Information request to learn all we can about the LAS contract, and to ensure that our government is acting in our best interest," Lombardo added.
With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 675 member clubs, the OFAH is the province's largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization, and the VOICE of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org and stay connected with the OFAH on Facebook and Twitter.
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