Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
January 26, 2009
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner – Report A-2009-002 Released
The Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ed Ring, has released his Report A-2009-001 under authority of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. A summary of the Report is included below.
To view the Report in its entirety, please go to http://www.oipc.gov.nl.ca/reports-access.htm
Report Date: January 22, 2009
Public Body: Memorial University of Newfoundland
Summary: The Applicant applied to Memorial University under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the "ATIPPA") for access to her own personal information that was contained in a report of an investigation into the employment experience of a named assistant professor (the "Katz Report"). In the copy of the Katz Report provided to the Applicant, the vast majority of information was redacted in accordance with section 30. Other information had been redacted in accordance with section 21. Memorial argued that this Office’s position that the ATIPPA created a bias in favour of disclosure would lead to "unsupportable interpretations of the Act’s definitions." The Commissioner disagreed with this argument and found that there is indeed a presumption in favour of disclosure inherent in the ATIPPA. The legislation is meant to promote disclosure of information while allowing the protection of personal information where it is appropriate to do so. Public bodies must, as a general rule, provide access to information and only protect what is absolutely necessary, rather than deny access and only disclose what is absolutely necessary. The Commissioner determined that section 21 was applicable to some information contained in the records. Further it was also determined that section 30 is not applicable to some of the information for which it was claimed. For example, the Commissioner found that section 30 does not apply to that information which the Applicant supplied to Memorial (for example, quotes from her own correspondence to Memorial or from Memorial to her) because in this situation, there can be no "disclosure" of the information. Further, the Commissioner found that generally, wherever the Applicant’s name appears in the Katz Report, she is entitled to this information, as it is clearly her own personal information. The Commissioner also found that names of employees of Memorial, where they are used in connection with their position or functions as employees, should also be disclosed in accordance with section 30(2)(f).
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