Section 17: Questions

Statement of Test to be Met

Threaten the safety of individuals

  • individuals (can be one or more individuals)
  • safety
  • could reasonably be expected to threaten
  • Assess how direct the links are between disclosure and threats to safety
    • Need to show a logical progression of events from disclosure to the threat
    • the progression of events should be reasonable and not speculative
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Whose safety could be threatened by disclosure of the information?

What kind of threat or harm to the(se) individual could be expected from disclosure?

Is it physical harm or risk of physical harm?

Is there a risk of confinement, or of depriving the individual of freedom of movement?

Depriving the individual of existing security or protection?

How could disclosure of the information create this risk?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Does the information itself concern the safety of individuals?

  • how will disclosure lead to a threat to safety?
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information reveal existing or planned security measures?

  • i.e., in a government building
  • i.e., provided to employees or individuals
  • measures taken for the security of (an) individual

Does the information reveal lapses or deficiencies in safety or security systems that could be exploited?

Does the information reveal how to harm oneself or others?

Does the information reveal how to obtain weapons, conceal weapons, or other information contemplating use of weapons?

Does the information reveal how to avoid security or protection measures?

How could the information be used so as to put the individual at risk?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Characteristics of requestor

  • note that these characteristics must establish a predisposition or motivation to use the information in a way resulting in a threat to the safety of the requestor or others
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Is there anything about the requestor that gives rise to a concern about how the information will be used?

Does the requestor have a history of violent behaviour?

  • Is this documented?

Does the requestor have a history of aggressive or antisocial behaviour?

  • Is this documented?

Does the requestor have a history of emotional or mental instability?

  • Is this documented?
  • Is it combined with a history of threats to others, violence, stalking, reprisals?
  • Is it combined with a history or harming him or herself?

Is there a medical risk to the requestor by reason of the information being disclosed?

  • What is the degree of risk?
  • Is it documented?

Could the medical risk result in physical harm or risk to the requestor?

Could the requestor have a motive for using the information in a way that threatens the safety of another person or others?

  • What is this motivation?

Why does the department view the requestor as likely to follow through with an intent to harm another or put them at risk?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

  • Contact between requestor and subject matter of requested information.
  • Note this information can often contain personal information
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Is there a relationship or past contact between the requestor and the subject matter of the information requested?

Is there past contact between the requestor and any person identified in the record?

Could this past contact give the requestor a motive to harm the individuals?

Does the information in the record consist of or contain personal information?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Informants/witnesses

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information requested reveal the identity of an informant or a witness?

  • If so, has the identity of the informant/witness been revealed before?
  • i.e., by testifying at a trial?

Is the identity of the informant/witness known to the requestor?

  • If so, would disclosure add to the threat to the individual's safety?
  • i.e., disclosure of whereabouts, particulars of information provided by the informant/witness

Have other measures been taken to protect the identity of the individual or the information they provided?

  • i.e., witness protection programs, in-camera proceedings, publication bans ordered by a court
   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Is the expectation of a threat to safety reasonable in nature?

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

How old is the information?

Has the passage of time reduced the threat to safety?

How current is the medical history of the requestor or the history of violent/antisocial behaviour in the requestor?

Were the incidents giving rise to the concern isolated or part of a pattern?

Is the information of such a nature that disclosure to a requestor with no known motivation or an unknown purpose still causes concern about it being used to threaten the safety of others?

Would disclosure of the information facilitate the commission of a crime against another person?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Discretion to disclose: - government must

  1. Consider disclosure notwithstanding that the information in the record is described in section 17
  2. Consider disclosure in light of
    1. the kind of injury identified in the section
    2. the intent of the section
    3. the intent of the Act
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Assuming disclosure could reasonably be expected to threaten the safety of an individual:

Is there a countervailing public interest to be met by disclosing the information that outweighs the potential for injury guarded against in the section?

  • i.e., Does the information consist of personal information about the requestor?

Does the requestor have a stated use for the information unrelated to a threat to safety?

  • i.e., the information concerns the requestor and is required for medical treatment or for employment purposes

How does the reasonable expectation of a threat to the safety of an individual weigh against this interest in disclosing for a positive interest?

While there may be a reasonable expectation of a threat to safety, is the threat of a minor nature?

Is the threat to safety related to the requestor himself or herself or to others?

Note the test in s. 28 Privacy Act, information concerning the physical or mental health of requestor - whether disclosure would not be in the best interests of the requestor - this mandates an examination of the purposes to which the information would be put.

The interest of the requestor has in disclosure may outweigh the threat to his or her own safety that could arise from disclosure.

   
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