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Executive Council
March 18, 2014

Open and Accountable

Premier Announces Committee Members for Independent Review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

The Honourable Tom Marshall, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, has appointed three individuals with expertise in law, privacy legislation, and journalism to conduct the independent statutory review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (ATIPP) Act.

In making the announcement, Premier Marshall noted that government is committed to ensuring that Newfoundland and Labrador has a strong statutory framework for access to information and protection of privacy, which when measured against international standards, will rank among the best.

“I am pleased to announce today that our committee will be comprised of Clyde Wells, who will serve as chair, Jennifer Stoddart, and Doug Letto. Mr. Wells is a lawyer, former Chief Justice, and a former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Ms. Stoddart is a former Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and Mr. Letto is a journalist with over 30 years of experience. We are fortunate that such highly qualified and respected individuals have agreed to undertake this important review. I have every confidence in their capabilities.”
- The Honourable Tom Marshall, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

Biographical information for the committee members and terms of reference are provided in the backgrounders below.

The appointments follow Premier Marshall’s announcement that an independent review of the ATIPP Act would be initiated earlier than required by legislation. Over the next several months, the committee members will conduct a comprehensive review, including examination of amendments made through Bill 29. Meaningful engagement of residents and stakeholder groups will form an important part of the process.

“We want to give the public an opportunity for direct input through this review. If there are specific concerns for residents, we want the committee to hear them. Through this process, we will gain valuable insight into ways in which we can improve our access to information and protection of privacy legislation.”
- The Honourable Steve Kent, Minister Responsible for the Office of Public Engagement

The final report will be released publicly and all recommendations carefully considered by government.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to listening to residents and to engaging youth, the volunteer sector, families and communities to build a vibrant and prosperous province.


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Media contacts:

Milly Brown
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
Tracey Boland
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
709-729-4304, 697-3128

Kip Bonnell
Communications Manager
Office of Public Engagement
709-729-1221, 687-9081


Biographical Information on Committee Members

Clyde Wells, QC
Clyde Wells has had an extensive legal and political career. A graduate of Dalhousie Law School, Mr. Wells built a thriving legal practice before serving as the fifth Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1989-1996. He has served as a justice of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Court of Appeal) and was appointed Chief Justice of the province in 1999. Mr. Wells became a major figure on the national political stage at the time of the Meech Lake Accord for his opposition to several of its provisions and also participated in discussions that led to the development of a set of constitutional proposals known as the Charlottetown Accord.

Jennifer Stoddart
Jennifer Stoddart was Canada’s Privacy Commissioner from 2003 to 2013. She is a privacy leader nationally and internationally and has overseen a number of important investigations, including those concerning Facebook’s privacy policies and practices. Ms. Stoddart has extensive experience on global privacy issues through her work with several international organizations and was selected as the 2010 recipient of the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Privacy Vanguard Award for her role in establishing Canada as a leading regulator on privacy issues. Ms. Stoddart holds a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from McGill University, as well as a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Québec at Montréal and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto's Trinity College. She was called to the Québec Bar in 1981. In 2013, Ms. Stoddart was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa for her contributions in the privacy field, both in Canada and around the world.

Doug Letto
Doug Letto is a communications professional, writer and accomplished journalist. He recently retired from the CBC, where he was a political reporter, co-host of Here and Now and most recently, senior producer. Mr. Letto has hosted provincial elections and leadership convention broadcasts, special programming and newscasts, and has also taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Mr. Letto has a Master of Arts (Political Science) degree and a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts (English History) degrees from Memorial University.


Statutory Review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Terms of Reference

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, SNL2002, c. A-1.1 (ATIPPA) came into force on January 17, 2005, with the exception of Part IV (Protection of Privacy) which was subsequently proclaimed on January 16, 2008. Pursuant to section 74 of the ATIPPA, the Minister Responsible for the Office of Public Engagement is required to refer the legislation to a committee for a review after the expiration of not more than five years after its coming into force and every five years thereafter. The first legislative review of ATIPPA commenced in 2010 and resulted in amendments that came into force on June 27, 2012. The current review constitutes the second statutory review of this legislation.

1. Overview

The Committee will complete an independent, comprehensive review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, including amendments made as a result of Bill 29, and provide recommendations arising from the review to the Minister Responsible for the Office of Public Engagement (the Minister), Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This review will be conducted in an open, transparent and respectful manner and will engage citizens and stakeholders in a meaningful way. Protection of personal privacy will be assured.

2. Scope of the Work

2.1 The Committee will conduct a comprehensive review of the provisions and operations of the Act which will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Identification of ways to make the Act more user friendly so that it is well understood by those who use it and can be interpreted and applied consistently;
  • Assessment of the “Right of Access” (Part II) and “Exceptions to Access” provisions (Part III) to determine whether these provisions support the purpose and intent of the legislation or whether changes to these provisions should be considered;
  • Examination of the provisions regarding “Reviews and Complaints” (Part V) including the powers and duties of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, to assess whether adequate measures exist for review of decisions and complaints independent of heads of public bodies;
  • Time limits for responses to access to information requests and whether current requirements are appropriate;
  • Whether there are any additional uses or disclosures of personal information that should be permitted under the Act or issues related to protection of privacy (Part IV); and
  • Whether the current ATIPPA Fee Schedule is appropriate.

2.2 Consideration of standards and leading practices in other jurisdictions:

  • The Committee will conduct an examination of leading international and Canadian practices, legislation and academic literature related to access to information and protection of privacy legislative frameworks and identify opportunities and challenges experienced by other jurisdictions;
  • The Committee will specifically consult with the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Newfoundland and Labrador regarding any concerns of the Commissioner with existing legislative provisions, and the Commissioner’s views as to key issues and leading practices in access to information and protection of privacy laws.

3. Committee processes

3.1 For the purpose of receiving representations from individuals and stakeholders, the Committee may hold such hearings in such places and at such times as the Committee deems necessary to hear representations from those persons or entities who, in response to invitations published by the Committee, indicate in writing a desire to make a representation to the Committee, and make such other arrangements as the Committee deems necessary to ensure that it will have all of the information necessary for it to fully respond to the requirements of these terms of reference.

3.2 The Committee may arrange for such accommodation, administrative assistance, legal and other assistance as the Committee deems necessary for the proper conduct of the review.

4. Final Committee Report and Recommendations

The Committee will prepare a final report for submission to the Minister. The report will include:

  • An executive summary;
  • A summary of the research and analysis of the legislative provisions and leading practices in other jurisdictions;
  • A detailed summary of the public consultation process including aggregate information regarding types and numbers of participants, issues and concerns, emerging themes, and recommendations brought forward by citizens and stakeholders; and
  • Detailed findings and recommendations, including proposed legislative amendments, for the Minister’s consideration.

2014 03 18             12:45 p.m.

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