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Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 20-07

The applicant requested records held by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) about himself. Following receipt of the records from the PPS, the applicant further questioned the comprehensiveness of the search. The PPS conducted further searches and answered targeted questions related to its search. For these reasons, the Commissioner finds that the PPS has conducted an adequate search as required by s. 7(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP) and recommends that the PPS take no further action with respect to searching for the records. Read more...


Amended procedure for access to information reviews - effective January 1, 2021

Effective January 1, 2021, the OIPC is implementing an amended procedure for reviews where information has been withheld pursuant to an exemption under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP), Part XX of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) or the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA). The procedure applies only to reviews where information has been withheld in part or in full under an exemption. It does not apply to time extensions, deemed refusals, fees, transfers, search or privacy complaint reviews.

The new procedure can be found here: Guide to Review Process. All parties should ensure they understand the amended procedure for any new reviews they are a party to, starting on January 1, 2021. Any file from the backlog that is assigned to an investigator starting January 1, 2021 will be processed using this amended procedure.

The major change in the amended procedure is that representations will be required at the outset of the investigation stage. This is changed from the current practice where representations could be provided during any stage of the process, with the final and most typically used time being upon notification of formal review. There will now only be one opportunity to provide representations at the outset of the process, unless a party is asked for further information from the investigator or the Commissioner at a later stage. Parties should plan to meet their respective burdens during their one opportunity to provide representations.


OIPC implements process change for consultation requests from public bodies, municipalities and health custodians

The OIPC has a significant backlog of request for review files so we are taking steps to streamline our processes and proecedures with the goal of allocating more time for reviews. Effective immediately, all public bodies, municipalities and health custodians will be required to fill out a consultation request form prior to receiving our comments regarding access to information or privacy matters. Please note this form is not required for questions about ongoing requests for review or to report a privacy breach to the OIPC.

Consultation Request Guidelines

Consultation Request Form


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 20-06

The applicant sought access to all communications relating to the grant of the exclusive right to market the Port of Sydney. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) severed and withheld information in full under s. 477 (financial or economic interests), s. 480(1) (personal information) and s. 481 (confidential information) of the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The Commissioner finds that the CBRM failed to meet its burden of showing that the information should be withheld pursuant to the above-noted sections of the MGA. On that basis, the Commissioner recommends disclosure of all of the information in full. In addition, the Commissioner finds that the CBRM failed in its duty to assist the applicant by not conducting a reasonable search for records as required by s. 467(1) of the MGA. Furthermore, the CBRM contravened s. 465(2) of the MGA by withholding the documents in full and not conducting a line-by-line review of the records. The Commissioner recommends that the CBRM conduct a new and complete search and provide the applicant with a new open, accurate and complete decision in response to the applicant's access to information request. Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 20-05

The applicant requested access to records about a youth she believed died while under the care of the Department of Community Services (Department). The Department refused to confirm or deny the existence of records responsive to the request, claiming that to do so would be an unreasonable invasion of a third party's personal privacy pursuant to s. 20 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP).

The Commissioner found that neither s. 7(2)(c) nor s. 20 authorized the Department to refuse to confirm or deny the existence of records. If records exist, the Commissioner recommended that the Department release the records to the applicant subject to the limited and specific exemptions in accordance with FOIPOP. Read more...


Investigation Report IR19-01 - Update on Recommendation Implementation

The Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services has provided the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia with an update on the status of the implementation of recommendations made under Investigation Report IR19-01. The status update, effective September 9, 2020, is provided below:

IR19-01 Status Update on Recommendation Implementation - September 9, 2020


NEWS RELEASE

​For immediate release

​August 7, 2020

Privacy Commissioner initiates investigation into breach of patient privacy by Nova Scotia Health Authority employees

​HALIFAX - Information and Privacy Commissioner Tricia Ralph has launched an investigation following the recent disclosure of multiple instances of employees accessing medical records without valid reason at the Nova Scotia Health Authority.  Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 20-04

​The applicant made a request for records about himself held by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). The records were about charges filed against the applicant that were ultimately withdrawn. The PPS provided some of the requested information but redacted some information and withheld a number of documents in full, citing prosecutorial discretion under s. 15(1)(f) and unreasonable invasion of third parties' privacy under s. 20 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP).

​The records at issue were compiled by Crown prosecutors for the conduct of a trial. The trial never occurred as the charges were withdrawn. The nature and purpose of the records allows a large portion of the information to be withheld because of the exemption for prosecutorial discretion in s. 15(1)(f). However, the Commissioner finds that this does not allow the public body to withhold in full as much information as it has. The Commissioner concludes that FOIPOP requires the PPS to disclose portions of the records after information exempted from disclosure is removed from the records.

​With regard to s. 20, much of the information was protected by the exemption for unreasonable invasion of third parties' privacy. The Commissioner concludes that witness names and statements are protected from disclosure. However, names and business phone numbers of police acting in their professional capacity are not protected from disclosure and should be released to the applicant. Read more...


The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia supports the International Conference of Information Commissioners' (ICIC) public statements concerning public bodies' obligations regarding access to information requests during a global pandemic. Read the full statements below:


Nova Scotia's Information and Privacy Commissioner's statement on COVID-19

Nova Scotia's access and privacy laws are designed to protect people's privacy but also to share information where public bodies determine that compelling circumstances exist that affect anyone's health or safety.  Read more...


New/Updated Publications Now Available

Guide to Review Process

Consultation Request Guidelines (for public bodies, municipalities and health custodians)

Consultation Request Form (for public bodies, municipalities and health custodians)

Breach Notification Form to Report Under s. 70 of Personal Health Informaton Act

Know Your Rights Glossary: Access to Personal Health Information Terms (PHIA) 

Infographic: How to Make an Access to Information Request

Protect Against Phishing - Technology Fact Sheet

Know Your Rights: How to Make an Effective Access to Information Request

Know Your Rights Glossary: Review Request Terms