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Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 21-02

NSCAD University (NSCAD) did not issue decisions in response to two access to information requests to the applicant within the legislated time period required by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP). The applicant appealed to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia (OIPC). The cause of the delay appears to initially have been because NSCAD did not have processes in place to receive mail due to the impacts of COVID-19 on its operations. Once it received the access to information requests, NSCAD provided no rationale for why it did not respond to the applicant within the statutory time frame. The Commissioner finds that NSCAD is in violation of s. 7 of FOIPOP and recommends that the decisions be issued within 30 days and appropriate processes be put in place to respond to its access to information obligations. Read more...


Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia is Moving

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia (OIPC) is moving to a new location on Spring Garden Road in Halifax.

Our office will be closed on Friday, February 5, 2021 while we relocate. Our office opens for business Monday, February 8, 2021 at its new location:

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia
Park Lane Terraces
502-5657 Spring Garden Road
Halifax, NS  B3J 3R4

Only our street address is changing. All other contact information, including mailing address and phone numbers, remains the same.


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 21-01

The Department of Business (Department) did not issue a decision in response to an access to information request to the applicant within the legislated time period required by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP). The applicant appealed to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia (OIPC). The cause of the delay was that the Department did not provide the responsive records to the administrator responsible for processing the request in a timely fashion. The Commissioner finds that the Department is in violation of s. 7 of FOIPOP and recommends that a decision be issued and a copy of this review report, along with a reminder about the importance of statutory timelines being respected, be sent to all employees responsible for responding to access to information requests under FOIPOP by March 31, 2021. Read more...


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...


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...


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

Know Your Rights: How to Make a Privacy Complaint

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