Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
November 27, 2019

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner – Report A-2019-030 Released

The Information and Privacy Commissioner, Michael Harvey, has released his Report A-2019-030 under authority of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015. A summary of the Report is included below.

To view the Report in its entirety, please go to www.oipc.nl.ca/reports/commissioner

Report:A-2019-030
Report Date:November 26, 2019
Public Body:Eastern Health
Summary: Eastern Health received a request for access to a copy of a contract awarded to a Supplier through a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO), a complete list of contract items with pricing, and correspondence and meeting notes between six individuals regarding the awarding of the contract, as well as the pricing analysis. Eastern Health granted access to the information, but failed to provide all the records responsive to the request. The Complainant went back to Eastern Health to inquire about the responsive records that were not disclosed. Eastern Health found the responsive records, but determined that the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015 (ATIPPA, 2015) section 39 (disclosure harmful to third party business interests) may be applicable to the records. Eastern Health also questioned whether it had custody or control of the records at the time of the request. Eastern Health provided third party notification under section 19 to the GPO. Eastern Health advised the Complainant it would disclose the records if the GPO did not object. The GPO did not file a complaint with the OIPC; however, Eastern Health continued to engage the GPO in discussions about the application of section 39. Three months after the “final” response to the Complainant, Eastern Health informed him that it had determined that the records would not be disclosed. The Complainant filed a complaint with this Office. The Commissioner determined that the records were in the custody or control of Eastern Health when the Complainant requested the information and that Eastern Health inappropriately applied the section 39 test to the responsive records. The Commissioner also determined that Eastern Health inappropriately provided the GPO with third party notification, that it failed in its duty to assist the Complainant, and that it failed to protect the anonymity of the Complainant. The Commissioner recommended the release of the records at issue after the appropriate appeal period. The Commissioner also recommended Eastern Health review guidance on sections 19 and 39, that it improve its searches for responsive records, ensure the protection of applicants, and adhere to legislated timelines.

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Media contact
Sean Murray
Director of Research & Quality Assurance
709-729-6309

2019 11 27                              9:55 a.m.