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Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 18-08

Canadian courts have made clear that the purpose of the policy advice exemption is to preserve an effective and neutral public service so as to permit public servants to provide full, free and frank advice.  In order for the exemption to apply, there must be a deliberative or evaluative process and the withheld advice must involve an evaluative analysis of information.  In this case, the public body withheld cost estimates for sterilization equipment replacement.  The Commissioner determines that the nature of the withheld information is factual on its face.  The nature of the records in which the information is found is likewise factual and not accompanied by options or analysis demonstrating skill or judgement.  She recommends that the withheld information be disclosed in full.  Read more...


Response to Review Report 18-05

Review Report 18-05 indicated we would publish the Department's response to the recommendations made by the Commissioner.  The response is available here.

Letter from Department of Health and Wellness


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 18-07

In this modern world of ubiquitous information it can be very challenging for a public body to determine whether or not information it holds can, in combination with other readily available information, be turned from non-identifiable to identifiable.  The applicant sought release of a spreadsheet providing information regarding funded salaries for each nursing home and residential care facility in Nova Scotia.  The Department aggregated the data, releasing only funded salaries by position types and not by facility.  While the original spreadsheet did not contain any names, the Department argued that, in combination with publicly available information, the spreadsheet could potentially disclose individual salary amounts.  The Commissioner determines that although wage ranges can be gleaned from the record, the evidence does not support a finding that the salaries set out in the original spreadsheet accurately reflect salaries paid.  The Commissioner determines that disclosing the original spreadsheet would not result in the unreasonable invasion of a third party's personal privacy but would result in greater transparency regarding the funding decisions of the Department.  The Commissioner recommends full disclosure of the original spreadsheet.  Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 18-06

In the past 10 months, the Municipality of the County of Kings failed to respond to 12 access to information requests within the 30 day timeline mandated by the law.  The Commissioner finds that the Municipality is in violation of the Municipal Government Act.  Access to information law is the bellwether of our democracy.  When access to information laws are strong and effective, citizens benefit and our democracy thrives.  But when public bodies, such as the Municipality in this case, completely ignore their obligations to respond in a timely fashion, this should raise red flags for citizens.  The Commissioner recommends that the Municipality respond to the applicant within 10 days on all outstanding files and that it train additional staff to improve its ability to respond to access to information requests.  Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 18-05

The use of personal email accounts to conduct government business has the potential to subvert the right of access under Nova Scotia's right to information laws.  When public bodies receive an access to information request they must make every reasonable effort to assist applicants openly, accurately and completely.  In this case, an applicant requested copies of all emails in relation to the former Minister of Health and Wellness' mandate that were sent or received using the Minister's personal email accounts for a specified time period.  The Commissioner determines that the Department failed to satisfy its duty to assist in a number of significant ways.  The Department failed to make any effort, let alone every reasonable effort, to search for responsive records.  It failed to communicate to the applicant any concerns it had with the clarity of the request and its response letters were neither open, accurate nor complete.  The Commissioner recommends that the Department undertake six steps to ensure that it conducts an adequate search for records so that the use of personal email accounts for departmental purposes does not result in making government records inaccessible to the public.  Read more...


Canada's Access to Information and Privacy Guardians Call for Privacy Regulation and Oversight of Political Parties

Regina, SK, September 17, 2018​ - In a joint resolution, Canada's Information and Privacy Ombudspersons and Commissioners have called on governments to pass legislation requiring political parties to comply with globally recognized privacy principles, to provide Canadians with access to the personal information they hold about them, and to provide for independent oversight to verify and enforce privacy compliance.                   Read more... / Communiqué

Joint Resolution: Securing Trust and Privacy in Canada's Electoral Process / Assurer la confiance et la confidentialité dans le processus électoral du Canada


Responses to Investigation Reports IR18-01 and IR18-02

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia has received responses to the recommendations made in investigation reports IR18-01 and IR18-02 from the Department of Health and Wellness and Sobeys National Pharmacy Group.  A summary of those responses and copies of the letters received are provided below.

OIPC Summary of Responses to IR18-01 and IR18-02 Recommendations

Letter from Department of Health and Wellness

Letter from Sobeys National Pharmacy Group


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 18-04

The Department of Finance and Treasury Board claimed that records responsive to two related access to information requests fell outside the scope of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP) by virtue of an exemption related to the Pension Benefits Act.  The Commissioner determines that the interpretation of the exemption advanced by the Department viotates the statutory interpretation norms of reasonableness and plausibility.  She concludes that the responsive records do not fall under the proposed exemption and recommends that the Department process the two related access to information requests as required by FOIPOPRead more...


New/Updated Publications Now Available

Best Password Practices / Meilleures pratiques pour le mots de passe

Big Data Guidelines for Nova Scotia

A Citizen's Guide to Big Data and Your Privacy Rights in Nova Scotia

A Citizen's Guide to Access and Privacy Rights in Nova Scotia / Guide du citoyen sur les droits à l'accès à l'information et à la protection de la vie privée en Nouvelle-Écosse

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

Access & Privacy - A Councillor's Guide