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Nova Scotia Court of Appeal Upholds Commissioner's Decision

In a decision released January 11, 2019, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal determined that a decision by the Information and Privacy Commissioner regarding the scope of her jurisdiction was reasonable.  The appeal centered around whether or not the Commissioner has jurisdiction to hear an appeal where the applicant seeks answers to questions rather than access to records.  The Commissioner determined that she does not have jurisdiction to hear an appeal where there is no request for access to records at issue.

The Court of Appeal states, "...the Commissioner's interpretation of the applicable provisions of the MGA was reasonable.  Indeed, I am satisfied it was the only reasonable interpretation."  A copy of the Court of Appeal decision is available here.  A copy of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision which also upheld the Commissioner's decision is available here.  


News Release

For Immediate Release

January 15, 2019

Privacy Commissioner's investigation determines that a serious failure of due diligence led to Freedom of Information Access website privacy breaches

HALIFAX - Information and Privacy Commissioner Catherine Tully issued her investigation report today into a series of privacy breaches that plagued the Freedom of Information Access (FOIA) website in the spring of 2018.  The Commissioner determines that the immediate cause of the privacy breaches was a design flaw in the FOIA website. The flaw was created by a well-known and foreseeable vulnerability that was not detected by the Department of Internal Services (Department) prior to launching the FOIA website.  Ultimately, the privacy breaches were preventable and were caused by a serious failure of due diligence in the deployment of a new technology tool.  Read more...

Investigation Report IR19-01

Letter to Premier and Ministers of Justice & Municipal Affairs - Modernization of Acts

Questions Nova Scotians May Want to Ask


Media Advisory

​January 14, 2019

N.S. Information and Privacy Commissioner to release investigation report concerning privacy breaches of the Department of Internal Services Freedom of Information Access website

​HALIFAX - On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 8:30 a.m., Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia Catherine Tully will release an investigation report concerning privacy breaches of the Department of Internal Services Freedom of Information Access website.  Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 18-11

Three separate applicants sought disclosure of a management fee paid by the Nova Scotia Government to Bay Ferries Limited for the operation of the ferry service between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine.  In withholding the information, the Department argued that disclosure of the information would harm both the economic interests of the Department and the competitive position of Bay Ferries Limited.  There is a justifiably high democratic expectation of transparency around the expenditure of public money.  Expenditure of public funds goes to the heart of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act's purposes and is an important reason behind the need for detailed and convincing evidence.  The burden of proof rests with the public body.  The Commissioner finds that the evidence offered falls well short of the legal standard.  Instead, the evidence offered consisted of conclusionary statements of general assertions of risk.  The Commissioner recommends full disclosure of the ferry service funding agreement.  Read more...


Don't gift your personal information to corporations!  The Information and Privacy Commissioner is reminding Nova Scotians to read the company's privacy policy before buying any "smart" gifts.

​Read her Naughty List here:  The Commissioner's Naughty List


News Release

For immediate release

November 14, 2018

Democracy in the Digital Age - Nova Scotia's Information and Privacy Commissioner releases 2017-2018 Annual Report

HALIFAX - Today, Catherine Tully, Nova Scotia's Information and Privacy Commissioner, released her annual report for 2017-2018.  "The growing prevalence of fake news and the use of unregulated personal data create serious challenges for our democracy," says Commissioner Tully.  "Citizens need a reliable source of information about their government in order to actively participate in democracy.  The integrity of our democratic institutions also requires that privacy laws are capable of protecting our personal information in the digital age."  Read more...

2017-2018 OIPC Annual Report


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 18-10

In December 2015, the Waterfront Development Corporation Limited issued a call for proposals in relation to a Halifax waterfront business opportunity - a waterfront beer garden.  In response to a request for copies of the submissions, the Waterfront Development Corporation Limited relied on two harms-based exemptions to withhold most of the information from successful and unsuccessful bid proposals and from the final bid evaluation sheet.  Neither the third parties nor the public body provided any evidence or submissions in support of their positions that information should be withheld.  Public accountability in the expenditure of public funds goes to the heart of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act's purposes and is an important reason behind the need for detailed and convincing evidence for withholding information.  Since there is no evidence to support the public body's decision to withhold information, the Commissioner recommends full disclosure of the requested records.  To assist public bodies with the third party notice process, the Commissioner lays out the necessary steps to follow in giving third party notice.  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


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


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