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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:


For immediate release

May 7, 2020

Joint statement by federal, provincial and territorial privacy commissioners regarding the use of contact tracing and similar apps to address covid-19

HALIFAX - In an effort to combat the spread of covid-19, government and public health authorities are looking for novel ways to use technologies to limit the pandemic. One of the tools being considered is contact tracing applications. These tools are not without risks to the right to privacy. The issues contact tracing or similar apps raise must be carefully considered before such tools are implemented. Read more...

Joint Statement:  Supporting public health, building public trust: Privacy principles for contact tracing and similar apps

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...


​The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia is operating remotely with limited staff.  If possible, please submit all requests electronically so that we can respond in a timely manner.  Requests submitted by mail or fax will only be responded to when staff are safely able to work in the office, following the directives of Nova Scotia's Chief Public Health Officer. 

For information about COVID-19, visit the Provincial Government's Public Health Website.

Notice to Public Bodies & Municipalities:

  • ​During this time, the OIPC will not be notifying public bodies and municipalities of third party requests for reviews.  Before disclosing any records to the original applicant, please contact the third party to obtain direct confirmation from the third party that it (s/he) has not submitted a request for review to this office.  More information about third party requests for review is available in our guidance document Duty to Assist: Third Party Notice.
  • The OIPC will be able to review and approve or decline time extension requests from public bodies and municipalities, however, our response may be delayed due to staff working remotely.  If you require a time extension, please submit the time extension request as per usual process and please make your time extension request at least 5 full business days before the time limit expires to allow us to respond.
  • ​We expect there will be some questions about privacy in the time of a pandemic.  The Privacy Commissioner of Canada will be posting guidance to their website shortly: The Information and Privacy Commissioner for Newfoundland & Labrador has also posted some guidance on their website:  Please refer to these documents if you are looking for guidance on handling personal information in emergency situations like COVID-19.

Acting Information and Privacy Commissioner releases public awareness tool coinciding with release of Review Report

​NEWS RELEASE - Halifax ​- The public awareness tool Protect Against Phishing has been published today to coincide with the public release of Review Report 20-02 to draw attention to the serious threat phishing presents. Phishing is when an attacker sends a fake message to try to get the recipient to give out sensitive information like a username and password.  Read more...

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 20-02

​The Nova Scotia Health Authority, as a personal health information custodian, responded to a privacy breach and gave notice to 2841 affected individuals.  One individual, the complainant in this case, requested a review of the custodian's privacy breach response and notification under the Personal Health Information Act.  The reviewing officer makes four findings and six recommendations under the provisions of s. 100(1) of the Personal Health Information ActRead more...

New Information & Privacy Commissioner (Review Officer) Appointed

NEWS RELEASE - Halifax - Nova Scotia's Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner welcomes the news of Tricia Ralph's appointment to fill the role of Review Officer under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Part XX of the Municipal Government Act, the Privacy Review Officer Act, and the Personal Health Information ActRead more...

Atlantic Information and Privacy Commissioners highlight implications of facial recognition technology

NEWS RELEASE - Halifax, January 28, 2020 - Data Privacy Day or Data Protection Day is recognized on January 28 by provinces and territories across Canada and countries around the world. It is an internationally recognized day dedicated to creating awareness about the importance of protecting personal information.  Read more...

Backgrounder: The Facts About Facial Recognition

Canada's access to information and privacy guardians urge governments to modernize legislation to better protect Canadians

NEWS RELEASE - Gatineau, QC, November 6, 2019 ​- Information and Privacy Ombudspersons and Commissioners from across Canada are urging their governments to modernize access to information and privacy laws.  Read more...

​Joint Resolution: Effective privacy and access to information legislation in a data driven society


Résolution conjointe: Pour une législation efficace sur la protection des reseignements personnels et l'accès à l'information dans une société guidée par les données

Wrapping Up Right to Know Week 2019

In case you missed Right to Know Week or want to re-live the intrigue, you can watch the engaging panel discussion here: Democracy in Action: The Future of Your Right to Know

See how the provincial government's published access to information numbers are trending over time: NS Access to Information Trends

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...

IR19-01 Update on Recommendation Implementation - August 13, 2019

Investigation Report IR19-01

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

Questions Nova Scotians May Want to Ask

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

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.  The OIPC monitored each custodian's implementation of the recommendations they accepted for more than a year. Summaries of the responses and the most up-to-date implementation statuses received are provided below.

IR18-01 Update on Recommendation Implementation - August 1, 2019

IR18-02 Update on Recommendation Implementation - June 10, 2019 

DHW Response to IR18-01 updated October 31, 2018

Letter from Department of Health and Wellness

Letter from Sobeys National Pharmacy Group

New/Updated Publications Now Available

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

Guidelines - PHIA Disclosures to Researchers (s. 57)

PHIA Disclosure to Researcher Notification Form (s. 57)

Reporting Breaches Guide - s. 70 of Personal Health Information Act

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

Duty to Assist #4 - How to Calculate Fees