Consider releasing information on compassionate grounds

Complaint: The RCMP refused, under section 19, to release information related to a workplace accident that resulted in a death.

Investigation: After investigating the matter, the Information Commissioner recommended that the RCMP release the information on compassionate grounds.

Outcome: In response to this recommendation, the RCMP consulted the Office of the Privacy Commissioner on the matter. The requester, a relative of the deceased, subsequently received additional records from the RCMP.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • The exception to section 19 contained in paragraph 8(2)(m) of the Privacy Act allows institutions to disclose information, when doing so would be in the public interest and would clearly outweigh the invasion of privacy of the deceased.
  • The Information Commissioner recommends that institutions consider releasing information about a deceased individual to family members on compassionate grounds whenever appropriate.
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