Signatures provided in public service capacity not personal information
Complaint: The Privy Council Office (PCO) withheld as personal information the signatures of employees on all call-ups it had processed in the National Capital Region over one month for temporary help.
Investigation: The OIC found that the individuals had signed the call-ups in order to approve them in their professional capacity.
Outcome: PCO disclosed the signatures.
Information Commissioner’s position
- While a signature is information about an identifiable person, the signature of a government employee provided in the course of official functions falls within the exception to the definition of personal information found in paragraph 3(j) of the Privacy Act.
- The presence or absence of signatures or initials is an important piece of information in the context of government accountability.