It is unreasonable to withhold individuals’ own personal information

Complaint: The Privy Council Office (PCO) refused to release information relating to the assessment of the requester’s application for a Governor-in-Council position, citing section 21.

Investigation: The OIC was not persuaded that the information constituted advice or recommendations to government, as section 21 requires. The OIC also questioned whether PCO had reasonably exercised its discretion in deciding not to release the information, since it was the requester’s own.

Outcome: PCO released the information.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • Even had PCO properly applied section 21, it should have considered that the requester had a right of access to this information under the Privacy Act. This is a relevant factor favouring disclosure.
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