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Canada's Access to Information and Privacy Guardians Urge Governments to Better Protect and Promote Rights of Canadians in Digital Era

Halifax, November 14, 2014 – Information and Privacy Ombudspersons and Commissioners from across the country are urging federal, provincial and territorial governments to review and modernize their information management practices.
In a joint resolution, Canada’s access to information and privacy guardians said the digital era has brought both tremendous opportunities and new challenges for access and privacy rights. Governments, they say, must show bold leadership now more than ever to ensure the continued relevance of access to information, while still vigilantly protecting the personal information of Canadians.
The resolution was endorsed during the recent annual meeting of Information and Privacy Ombudspersons and Commissioners from federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions across Canada.
For further information, contact:
Catherine Tully
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Officer

The 2014 Maritime Connections Conference

November 26-27
Register today Public Bodies - online registration system generates an invoice automatically. Register today - pay later!!
Program Highlights
· A Keynote Presentation from Nova Scotia's New Review Officer, Catherine Tully
· How to Build a Privacy Management Framework - a Plenary Panel led by Canada Post
· Business Driven Records Management presentation by Lewis Eisen from the Bank of Canada
· Bring Your Own Device Meets Privacy by Design, Amanda Brennan, Ornge
· AND the Commissioner's Bear Pit featuring the oversight bodies from all 3 Maritime Provinces as well as NL's Information and Privacy Commissioner!


Report Release Date:  October 17, 2014
Summary:  The Applicant sought access to a Community Services child protection file regarding his completion of two courses.  Community Services was unable to locate a physical protection file but provided the Applicant with case notes from its case management system.  The Review Officer found that Community Services met its duty to assist the Applicant when it conducted a second search, identified the business area searched and individuals who conducted the search, and provided some explanation for why the record did not exist.  The Review Officer also found Community Services’ offer to meet with the Applicant about its process consistent with the duty to assist and recommended that Community Services take no further action in this matter.
Statutes Considered: Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (NS), s. 7(1)(a); Access to Information Act, s. 4(2.1); Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act  (BC), s. 6(1); Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Manitoba), s. 9; Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Alberta), s. 10(1).
Other Sources: Order 00-32, 2000 CanLII 14397 (BC IPC); Order PO-3386, 2014 CanLII 50833 (ON IPC); Interim Order MO-2581, 2010 CanLII 76935 (ON IPC); Donham v. Nova Scotia (Community Services) 2012 NSSC 384.

October 29, 2014

Statement of the Privacy and Information Commissioners of Canada on National Security and Law Enforcement Measures

OTTAWA – Nova Scotia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Officer today joined with her Privacy and Information Commissioner colleagues at their annual meeting to note with sadness last week’s events in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, and in Ottawa, Ontario. She, and all of Canada’s Privacy and Information Commissioners, join their voices to the thousands of Canadians in expressing their condolences to the grieving families and friends of the fallen whose duty it was to defend our rights and freedoms.
To that end, the Privacy and Information Commissioners of Canada call on the federal Government...


Catherine Tully, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Officer

Catherine Tully was appointed as the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Officer for Nova Scotia effective September 1, 2014

After being called to the Ontario Bar in 1990, Review Officer Tully initially practiced law in the Ontario legal clinic system.  However, for the past 14 years she has worked exclusively in the area of access and privacy law. 

From 2000 until 2006 she served as the Director of Access, Privacy and Records Management for three provincial government institutions in British Columbia.  She then worked in a variety of capacities with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia including as Assistant Information and Privacy Commissioner from 2008-2012.  Most recently Review Officer Tully served as the Director of Access and Privacy for the Canada Post Corporation.

Ms. Tully holds a B.Sc., B.A. and LL.B. from the University of Ottawa and an LL.M. from Dalhousie University.


Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to enact access and privacy legislation. The original Freedom of Information Act (click here for the former Act from 1977) was repealed in 1993 and was replaced with a more comprehensive statue, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  Since that time, all other jurisdictions in the country have followed suit. All government departments and agencies were brought under the Act. Subsequently in 1999, a new Municipal Government Act [MGA] was passed. In Part XX of the MGA It included access and privacy provisions similar to the provincial Act and applied to all municipalities and municipal bodies. In 1999, the provincial Act was also extended to cover local public bodies including hospitals, universities, colleges and school boards.

Pursuant to the Acts, all public bodies, municipalities and local public bodies are obliged to adopt a policy of accountability, openness and transparency and to provide a right of access to information with limited exemptions. They are also obliged to ensure the protection of individuals' personal privacy.

...the legislation in Nova Scotia is deliberately more generous to its citizens and is intended to give the public greater access to information that might otherwise be contemplated in the other provinces and territories in Canada. Nova Scotia's lawmakers clearly intended to provide for the disclosure of all government information (subject to certain limited and specific exemptions) in order to facilitate informed public participation in policy formulation; ensure fairness in government decision making; and permit the airing and reconciliation of divergent views. No other province or territory has gone so far in expressing such objectives.
- O'Connor v. Nova Scotia, N.S.C.A., 2001

In 2008 the Privacy Review Officer Act [PRO Act] was proclaimed.  This provided for independent oversight by the Review Officer with respect to all privacy decisions of provincial public bodies.  The PRO Act gave the Review Officer new Powers in privacy oversight including own-motion investigations, consultations with public bodies, and public education.

In 2013 the Personal Health Information Act [PHIA] became law.  This stature provides for access and privacy with respect to personal health information.  The Review Officer is given a broad mandate with respect to oversight including investigations regarding access and privacy, breach notifications, privacy and access consultations, and public education.

This site contains a variety of information pertaining to the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP), the Part XX Municipal Government Act (MGA) and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Office (Review Officer), the Privacy Review Officer Act and the Personal Health information Act.
The purpose of this site is to provide you with the information needed to understand and use the four Acts including FAQ’s. It also provides access to Review Reports, Court Cases and other publications from the Review Office.
Although we make every effort to ensure all information posted on our website is accurate and complete, we cannot guarantee it is up to date.
If there is any discrepancy between the statues or law posted on website and the original paper versions, the paper originals are the authoritative documents.