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Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to enact access and privacy legislation. The original Freedom of Information Act (click here for the former Act from 1977) was repealed in 1993 and was replaced with a more comprehensive statue, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Since that time, all other jurisdictions in the country have followed suit. All government departments and agencies were brought under the Act. Subsequently in 1999, a new Municipal Government Act [MGA] was passed. In Part XX of the MGA It included access and privacy provisions similar to the provincial Act and applied to all municipalities and municipal bodies. In 1999, the provincial Act was also extended to cover local public bodies including hospitals, universities, colleges and school boards.
Pursuant to the Acts, all public bodies, municipalities and local public bodies are obliged to adopt a policy of accountability, openness and transparency and to provide a right of access to information with limited exemptions. They are also obliged to ensure the protection of individuals' personal privacy.
...the legislation in Nova Scotia is deliberately more generous to its citizens and is intended to give the public greater access to information that might otherwise be contemplated in the other provinces and territories in Canada. Nova Scotia's lawmakers clearly intended to provide for the disclosure of all government information (subject to certain limited and specific exemptions) in order to facilitate informed public participation in policy formulation; ensure fairness in government decision making; and permit the airing and reconciliation of divergent views. No other province or territory has gone so far in expressing such objectives.
- O'Connor v. Nova Scotia, N.S.C.A., 2001
In 2008 the Privacy Review Officer Act [PRO Act] was proclaimed. This provided for independent oversight by the Review Officer with respect to all privacy decisions of provincial public bodies. The PRO Act gave the Review Officer new Powers in privacy oversight including own-motion investigations, consultations with public bodies, and public education.
In 2013 the Personal Health Information Act [PHIA] became law. This stature provides for access and privacy with respect to personal health information. The Review Officer is given a broad mandate with respect to oversight including investigations regarding access and privacy, breach notifications, privacy and access consultations, and public education.
This site contains a variety of information pertaining to the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP), the Part XX Municipal Government Act (MGA) and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Office (Review Officer), the Privacy Review Officer Act and the Personal Health information Act.
The purpose of this site is to provide you with the information needed to understand and use the four Acts including FAQ’s. It also provides access to Review Reports, Court Cases and other publications from the Review Office.
Although we make every effort to ensure all information posted on our website is accurate and complete, we cannot guarantee it is up to date.
If there is any discrepancy between the statues or law posted on website and the original paper versions, the paper originals are the authoritative documents.