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Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 17-06

Nothing is more central to the goals of accountability and transparency than the right to information about what municipalities and public bodies are spending public money on, and what they are receiving in return.  Where terms of a contract incorporate the pricing proposal of the winning bidder to a request for proposal, that pricing information becomes part of a negotiated agreement and cannot be withheld as third party business information.  With respect to access to the proposal of an unsuccessful bidder, neither the Municipality of the County of Kings nor the affected third party provided any evidence in support of the application of the exemption.  The Commissioner determines that s. 481 cannot apply in the absence of any evidence of harm.  Read more...   


For immediate release
June 27, 2017

Time to modernize - Nova Scotia's Information and Privacy Commissioner releases 2016-2017 Annual Report 

HALIFAX - Today, Catherine Tully, Nova Scotia's Information and Privacy Commissioner, released her annual report for 2016-2017.  As part of the report, Tully includes 34 recommendations to strengthen and modernize Nova Scotia's access and privacy laws.  

"The digital age is upon us and our laws are quite simply no longer up to the task," Tully says in the report.  "Significant improvements are required to bring our access and privacy rights into the 21st century."  Read more... 

2016-2017 OIPC Annual Report

Companion Report:  Accountability for the Digital Age

Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 17-05

The applicant had significant concerns with the impact a development in her neighbourhood would have on her own property rights.  The applicant sought further information in relation to the development.  In its response, the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) withheld portions of the information citing third party personal privacy among other exemptions.  The Commissioner determines that the disclosure of the identity of neighbouring landowners who raised concerns with HRM would result in an unreasonable invasion of their personal privacy.

However, the Commissioner determines that much of the remaining withheld information should be disclosed since disclosure would not result in an unreasonable invasion of a third party's personal privacy.  The Commissioner recommends disclosure of initials of municipal employees confirming receipt of documents, the identity of individuals in a business context including the name of the Lord Bishop of Halifax from 1884, the historical name of the estate, opinions of individuals given in a business context, vague leave-related information, and all emails sent to or from the applicant.  The Commissioner agrees that, for the most part, information withheld as solicitor-client privilege was properly withheld.  The third party failed to provide any evidence in support of its claim that disclosure of a small amount of information would result in harm to its business interests. As a result, the Commissioner recommends disclosure of information withheld under the third party business exemption.  Read more...

Maritime Connections Support Forum - Access & Privacy Workshops

Verney Conference Management is presenting the Maritime Connections Support Forum at the Delta Halifax on June 26-27, 2017.  Staff members from the OIPC will be presenting three workshops for access and privacy professionals at the conference. For more information, including the agenda and how to register, visit the Maritime Connections Support Forum website.  

Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 17-04

The applicant is a former foster child who was placed into care as an infant and returned to his parents at the age of five.  He thrived in foster care and seeks information that would help him to understand why the Department of Community Services (Department) decided to return him to his parents' care.  The Commissioner recommends the disclosure of information directly related to the reasons why the applicant was returned to his parents.  The Commissioner further determines that disclosure of the names of individuals who served as the applicant's foster parents more than 50 years ago would not constitute an unreasonable invasion of their personal privacy.  The Commissioner agrees with the Department that information focussed solely on the identity or activities of the applicant's siblings should continue to be withheld. Read more...

Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 17-03

In five separate requests, the applicants applied for access to information concerning fish farms operations.  The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture denied access to the bulk of information relating to laboratory reports and veterinary inspections, claiming that dislosure would cause harm to a third party business.  The applicants filed requests for review of those decisions, and the third party made submissions to the review.  The third party bears the burden of proving that all three elements of the third party business information exemption are met.  The Commissioner found that the third party had not established that veterinary and lab reports were supplied in confidence, and that it had failed to demonstrate that disclosure of cage configurations and restocking plans would cause the type of harms enumerated in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP).  Although a new statutory provision is now in place regarding the confidentiality of veterinary reporting, this provision was not in effect at the time of the access request and so did not apply to the information at issue. The Commissioner recommends full disclosure. Read more...

New/Updated Publications Now Available

A Citizen's Guide to Access and Privacy Rights in Nova Scotia

Guidance for the Use of Criminal Record Checks by Health Profession Regulating Bodies

PHIA - Disclosures Without Express Consent

Video Surveillance Guidelines

Video Surveillance Policy Template

2017-2018 French-language Service Plan (PDF) / Plan de services en français 2017-2018 (PDF)

Access & Privacy - A Councillor's Guide 

PHIA Review Recommendations 

Instant Messaging and Personal Email Accounts Guide