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Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 21-08

The applicant sought access to a settlement agreement and associated schedules reached between the Town of Wolfville (Town) and multiple third parties arising out of a court case. The Town notified the third parties that it intended to release the requested settlement agreement with some information severed pursuant to s. 481 (confidential business information) and s. 480 (personal information). A third party submitted a request for review, claiming that the settlement agreement should be withheld in full pursuant to s. 481, s. 476 (solicitor-client privilege) and settlement privilege. The Commissioner finds that s. 481 does not apply to the settlement agreement. The Commissioner also finds that a third party cannot raise a discretionary exemption that has not been relied upon by the Town. Finally, the Commissioner finds that aside from the signatures, which are not necessary to release in these circumstances, the disclosure of the withheld personal information would not result in an unreasonable invasion of a third party's personal privacy. As such, the Commissioner recommends disclosure of the settlement agreement in full with the exception of signatures. Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 21-07

The complainant completed the Driving While Impaired Program (DWI Program), a mandatory program for drivers whose licenses have been suspended due to an impaired driving offence. The DWI Program was administered by Nova Scotia Health (NSH) and was composed of a standardized education component, an optional referral to healthcare treatment services and a biopsychosocial assessment resulting in an individualized risk rating. The risk rating was then disclosed to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) for its use in its administrative decision-making about whether to reinstate the driver's license. The complainant complained that in administering the DWI Program, the NSH collected, used and disclosed his personal information without authority. Read more...


Notice of consultation and call for comments - Privacy guidance on facial recognition for police agencies - Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Canada's federal, provincial and territorial privacy commissioners have jointly developed a draft document about the use of facial recognition technology by policing agencies intended to ensure that any use of facial recognition complies with the law, minimizes privacy risks and respects privacy rights. The federal Privacy Commissioner has also launched a consultation period inviting written feedback from stakeholders on the draft guidance document as well as on the legal and policy framework for police use of facial recognition more generally. Stakeholders can learn more about the federal consultation period and make submissions here: Notice of consultation and call for comments - Privacy guidance on facial recognition for police agencies - Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Nova Scotian stakeholders are encouraged to submit any comment about this subject which will help contribute to this national conversation.


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 21-06

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Department) refused an applicant access to records, relying on s. 7(4) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, because it intended to release the records publicly at a later date. However, s. 7(4) only allowed the Department to take that action within 30 days after the applicant's request was received. This time period had long expired by the time the Department applied this provision. The Commissioner finds that the Department failed in its duty to assist the applicant as the decision was delayed, incomplete, inaccurate and not open. The Commissioner recommends the records be provided to the applicant immediately. Read more...


Nova Scotia to create an advisory committee to conduct a review of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

We are pleased to see the Premier's March 24, 2021 mandate letter to the Minister of Justice includes a requirement to create an advisory committee to conduct a review of FOIPOP and its related legislation with a view to make recommendations to modernize Nova Scotia's out of date access to information and privacy legislation: 2021 Ministerial Mandate Letter Department of Justice

Nova Scotia's Information and Privacy Commissioner has recommended the review be conducted by an independent committee, with input from public stakeholders and the OIPC:


News release

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Information and Privacy Commissioners and Ombudsman Issue Joint Resolution About Privacy and Access to Information Rights During and After a Pandemic

June 2, 2021 - In a joint resolution, Canada's Information and Privacy regulators called on their respective governments to respect Canadians' quasi-constitutional rights to privacy and access to information. The regulators took note of the serious impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the right of access to information and privacy rights in Canada and called on governments to use the lessons learned during the pandemic to improve these rights. Read more...

Joint Resolution: Reinforcing Privacy and Access to Information Rights During and After a Pandemic


News release

Vaccine passports must meet highest level of privacy protection

May 19, 2021 - Privacy should be front and centre as governments and businesses consider COVID-19 vaccine passports as a tool to help Canadians return to normal life, say Canada's privacy guardians. Read more...

Joint Statement by Federal, Provincial and Territorial Privacy Commissioners: Privacy and COVID-19 Vaccine Passports


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 21-05

The applicant sought access to a Child Welfare Services file about his own child. The Department of Community Services (Department) provided the applicant with a package of responsive records. The applicant believed that the package received from the Department was missing four items. The Commissioner finds that the Department conducted an adequate search as required by s. 7(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act after conducting a second search, identifying the business areas searched, the individuals who conducted the search and providing an explanation for why the records did not exist. However, because the Department's file room was under overhaul for over three years, the Commissioner recommends that the Department complete the file room's overhaul within one year of the date of this review report. Read more...


NEWS RELEASE

For immediate release

April 12, 2021

Privacy Commissioner initiates investigation into potential breach of inmate privacy by an employee of the Department of Justice's Correctional Services

HALIFAX - Information and Privacy Commissioner Tricia Ralph has launched an investigation following a news report alleging that an employee of the Department of Justice's Correctional Services recorded a video of an inmate and shared it to a social media platform along with comments that included the sensitive personal information of the inmate. 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.


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

Connaissez vos droits - Comment faire une demande efficace d'accès à l'information

Guide du processus d'examen en cas de non-communication partielle ou totale de l'information en vertu d'une exemption

Know Your Rights: Withheld (or Severed) Information

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)