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Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 18-02

In response to a request for records relating to the decision to cancel an expansion of an adult residential centre, the Department of Community Services (Department) provided a confusing collection of documents.  Many of the documents were emails without attachments with no explanation for their removal.  Versions of the same documents were severed differently and sometimes had different exemptions applied to the same information.  Public bodies have a duty to respond openly, accurately and completely.  The Department's inconsistent approach and its failure to clearly identify exemptions under the law resulted in the applicant believing the Department was "blatently hiding information".  The Commissioner recommends that the Department release significantly more information where the Department has failed to meet its burden of proving that exemptions apply.  The Commissioner further recommends that the Department revisit its exercise of discretion and consider releasing more information.  Finally, the Commissioner recommends that the Department provide the applicant with a clearly paginated, consistently severed and labelled response package.   Read more...


Information and Privacy Commissioner releases Review Report 18-01

Broad general assertions of harm will not satisfy the burden of establishing that the disclosure of the particular information at issue could reasonably be expected to harm the security of a system.  On that basis, the Commissioner recommends full disclosure of a video inspection report relating to underground sewer and storm pipes.  Read more... 


Couldn't make it to the Open Government event last week to hear Michael Karanicolas speak?  Review the presentation here:

Open Government Presentation


Smart Cities - Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia joins federal, provincial and territorial colleagues in a call to assess privacy risks of the Smart Cities Challenge

On April 24th, Commissioner Tully, along with her colleagues, sent a letter to the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to urge him to take proactive steps to ensure the privacy and security of personal information is considered in the selection, design and implementation of the winning proposals in Infrastructure Canada's Smart Cities Challenge. 

Read the letter: English / French


What We Do

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is an impartial oversight body - like the Ombudsman or the Auditor General.  Under Nova Scotia's privacy laws, the Privacy Commissioner is responsible for investigating privacy complaints, hearing appeals of government decisions relating to access to information requests and providing public education sessions.

What We Do Not Do

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner does not process access to information requests for government.  We are not responsible for the FOIPOP database that is the subject of the recent privacy breach reports.  That database is held by a government department - the Department of Internal Services.  We do not have authority to lay criminal charges and we are not responsible for making decisions about the prosecution of criminal offences.  We have publicly announced our investigation of government in relation to this privacy breach incident.


NEWS RELEASE

For immediate release

April 11, 2018

Privacy Commissioner initiates investigation into breach of government's access to information web portal

HALIFAX - Information and Privacy Commissioner Catherine Tully has launched an investigation into the recently announced breach of the government's access to information web portal.  Read more...


OIPC Training Sessions - April 2018

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia is offering two training programs in April 2018:

1.  Access & Privacy Essentials

2.  Privacy Breach Management

Each program will be delivered in two locations.  For details, including the agenda and learning outcomes, and to find out how to register, please refer to the links below:

April 17 - Privacy Breach Management - Bridgewater, NS

April 18 - Access & Privacy Essentials - Halifax, NS - This session is now full. If you are interested in attending an Access & Privacy Essentials session in Halifax, please let us know. If there is sufficient interest, we will schedule another session in May 2018.   

April 24 - Access & Privacy Essentials - Kings County (Kentville), NS

April 25 - Privacy Breach Management - Halifax, NS - This session is now full.  If you are interested in attending a Privacy Breach Management session in Halifax, please let us know.  If there is sufficient interest, we will schedule another session in May 2018.


Nova Scotia Supreme Court Rules on Scope of Access Rights

Nova Scotia's Supreme Court determined yesterday that access rules in the MGA and FOIPOP contemplate access to records.  There is no provision in the legislation for a question and answer or inquisitorial process.  It is therefore a condition precedent to an applicant's right to review a public body's decision that the applicant seek access to a record, not answers to questions.

Read the Supreme Court Decision


New/Updated Publications Now Available

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 

PHIA Review Recommendations 

Instant Messaging and Personal Email Accounts Guide