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Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 16-08

A grieving mother sought access to copies of photographs of her son taken by the medical examiner at the time of her son's death.  The Department refused to disclose the photographs because it said the disclosure of the photographs would be an unreasonable invasion of the deceased's personal privacy.  The Commissioner agrees that the deceased has privacy rights but determines that compassionate considerations outweigh the presumed unreasonable invasion of the deceased's privacy rights in this case.  She recommends disclosure of the photographs to the applicant.  Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 16-07

Where a third party objects to the disclosure of information on the basis that it believes disclosure would be harmful to its business interests, it is the third party that bears the burden of proving that the applicant has no right of access.  If, as in this case, the third party provides no evidence in support of its position, it fails to meet its burden of proof.  In the absence of any evidence to support the application of the third party business exception the Commissioner recommends full disclosure of the naming rights agreement for the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) owned fourplex.  Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 16-06

The applicant complained that his employer, the Department of Justice (Department), accessed information regarding criminal charges against him in the Department's own computer system and so violated his privacy rights.  The Commissioner determines that the access was necessary for the purposes of maintaining security of the correctional system.  Therefore, in the narrow circumstances of this case, the new use of the data by the Department was authorized.  Read more...


NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

June 28, 2016

N.S. lacks key privacy protections - Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Annual Report

HALIFAX - Official reporting suggests privacy breaches don't happen in Nova Scotia.  Meaningful privacy breach notification is critical to protecting citizens' privacy rights, but Nova Scotia's public sector access and privacy laws do not require notification. Catherine Tully, Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia, has called for that to change in her office's 2015-2016 Annual Report, released today.  Read more...  

Read the 2015-2016 OIPC Annual Report


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 16-05

When applicants file access to information requests they must include sufficient particulars to enable the public body to identify the requested record.  If they do not, the public body is entitled to put the request "on hold" until the request has been clarified. When a public body receives an access request it should interpret it in a fair, reasonable, open and flexible manner.  In addition, as soon as the request has been clarified, the 30 day timeline restarts since time is of the essence in processing access to information requests.  In this case, the Commissioner determines that while the applicant did not initially provide sufficient particulars, after an extensive clarification process, he had done so.  Still, the public body failed to restart the 30 day clock for an additional two weeks.  As a result, a subsequent time extension taken by the public body was not authorized because the time for processing the request had expired.  Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 16-04

The applicant, a former foster child, sought the names of her mother and father.  The Department refused to disclose the names stating that the disclosure would be an unreasonable invasion of her parents' personal privacy.  The Commissioner notes that, in the Adoption Information Act,  children who are adopted have a mechanism for gaining access to their birth parents' names.  Foster children are similarly provided with a mechanism to gain access to their parents' identities through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act if the disclosure is not an unreasonable invasion of privacy.  In weighing the facts of this particular case, the Commissioner finds that disclosure of the parents' names would not be an unreasonable invasion of their privacy.  Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 16-03

A public body may disclose personal information if the disclosure is not an unreasonable invasion of a third party's personal privacy.  In this case an applicant, a former foster child, sought the name of his father contained in the Department of Community Service's file.  The Commissioner recommends that the name be disclosed because disclosing that information would not be an unreasonable invasion of privacy given the likelihood that the applicant's father died more than 30 years ago, the change in attitudes regarding the birth of a child out of wedlock and the fact that the information is 85 years old.  Read more...


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PHIA - Rules Summary and Checklist for Custodians (PDF)