Section 19: Questions

Subsection -- 19(1) & (2)

Exemption: PERSONAL INFORMATION

19(1) Subject to subsection (2), the head of a government institution shall refuse to disclose any record requested under this Act that contains personal information as defined in section 3 of the Privacy Act.

19(2) The head of a government institution may disclose any record requested under this Act that contains personal information if

  1. the individual to whom it relates consents to the disclosure;
  2. the information is publicly available; or
  3. the disclosure is in accordance with section 8 of the Privacy Act.

Statement of Test to be Met

Inquiry Path

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Is the information 'personal information' under paragraphs 3(a) to (i) of the Privacy Act?

  • Is it information about an identifiable individual?

If so, is the information also described in paragraphs 3(j) - (m) of the Privacy Act?

  • If so, information is not personal information.
  • If not, investigate applicability of section 19(2) of Access to Information Act.

Does section 19(2) apply?

Is the information publicly available (paragraph 19(2)(b)); or

does the individual consent to disclosure (paragraph 19(2)(a)); or

does section 8 of the Privacy Act apply?

  • does paragraphs 8(2)(a) - (l) apply; or
  • does paragraph 8(2)(m) apply
    • clear benefit to individual (sub-paragraph 8(2)(m)(ii)); or
    • public interest in disclosure (sub-paragraph 8(2)(m)(i)).
   

Subsection 19(1)

Exemption: PERSONAL INFORMATION

19(1) Subject to subsection (2), the head of a government institution shall refuse to disclose any record requested under this Act that contains personal information as defined in section 3 of the Privacy Act.

3. In this Act, 'personal information' means information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing,

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Information about an identifiable individual

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment
Does the information relate to a person other than the requestor?    

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Must be able to identify the individuals

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

To whom does the information relate?

Does the access request describe this person?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Linkage of information to identifiable individuals must be clear and direct

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

If the information does not relate to a named individual, is it possible to identify the individual from the information in the record?

  • How?

Does the information describe or relate to inclusion of individuals in a group?

  • Describe the group
  • What characteristics does the group have?
   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

  • Look for specific characteristics of members of group.
  • Must be small and specific enough to identify individuals in the group.
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Are members of the group identified by personal characteristics?

  • Race, religion, age, gender
  • Professional or other qualifications
  • Medical status
  • Citizenship status
  • By employment status
  • By participation in financial transactions
  • By ownership of property, assets, shares In a company
  • By personal interests
  • By participation in an event

Is it possible to identify individuals as members of this group?

  • How big is the group?
  • Over what geographic area are its members?

Is there other information in the record that links an identifiable individual with the group

  • How?
   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Information must be 'about' the identifiable individual

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment
Is the individual described in a way that is personal?    

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Information must be specific to the individual

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information relate directly to the individual?

  • How?

If not, how does the information relate to the individual?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Must be personal in nature

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment
Is there a meaningful connection between the information and the individual?    

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Cannot be so general as to not relate in a meaningful way to the individual

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Would another person reasonably ascribe to the individual the qualities, characteristics or financial information described in the record?

[questions above about inclusion of individuals in a group are also relevant here]

   

 

Section - 19

  1. Information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age or marital status of the individual.
  2. Information relating to the education or the medical, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved.
  3. Any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual.
  4. The address, fingerprints or blood type of the individual.
  5. The personal opinions or views of the individual except where they are about another individual or about a proposal for a grant, an award or a prize to be made to another individual by a government institution or a part of a government institution specified in the regulations.
  6. Correspondence sent to a government institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to such correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence.
  7. The views or opinions of another individual about the individual.
  8. The views or opinions of another individual about a proposal for a grant, an award or a prize to be made to the individual by an institution or a part of an institution referred to in paragraph (e), but excluding the name of the other individual where it appears with the views or opinions of the other individual.
  9. The name of the individual where it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name itself would reveal information about the individual.

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Paragraphs 3(a), (b) and(d)

Information must identify an individual

  • physical characteristics
  • personal activities
  • personal status
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment
     

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information describe general characteristics of a group?

If so, how is the information related to the individual?

Is the individual connected to the information?

  • Elsewhere in the record?
  • By deduction through other sources?
    • telephone books
    • other publications

Are the sources publicly available?

Is it easy to connect the individual with the information using these sources, financial transactions or financial position?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Must be specific in relation to the individual

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information ascribe personal characteristics to an individual?

  • race
  • national or ethnic origin
  • colour
  • religion
  • age

Does the information record the voice of an identifiable individual?

Does the information attribute physical characteristics to an individual?

  • disability
  • illness
  • past illness
  • sexual orientation
  • medical history
  • blood type

Does the information describe activities that are personal to an individual?

  • schooling, education, courses
  • personal financial situations
  • personal financial management
  • membership in groups
  • employment or employment history

Does the information describe the status of the individual?

  • marital status
  • family status
  • citizenship status
  • immigration status
  • criminal history or status
  • address, living arrangements

Does the request identify such personal characteristics or circumstances?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

  • Contractual relationships.
  • Watch for connections with 3(j), (k) and (l).
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information describe average income, expenditure, net worth of members of a group?

Are these average amounts meaningful indicators of the financial status of the individual?

Does the information confirm the participation of a specific individual in a financial transaction?

If not, does the information provide a meaningful indication of the participation of the individual in a financial transaction?

  • How?

Is the financial transaction personal in nature?

Does the transaction relate to the job of the individual?

Did the individual have responsibility for the transaction as a function of his or her position or job?

Is this a government job?

Does the information describe a contract in which the individual is involved?

Is this a contract for personal services?

  • By the individual
  • By the individual's employer

If so, is the contract with the government?

  • Does section 3(k) or (l) apply?

Is it a contract by the individual for services from someone else?

  • Are the services personal to the individual
    • accounting
    • legal
    • other services

Is the contract for services related to the job or position of the individual?

  • If so, did the individual sign the contract in their capacity as an officer or employee?
    • For the benefit of an organization, as opposed to the individual?
   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Paragraph 3(b) -- Employment history

  • watch for section 3(j), (k) and (l)
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the record reveal an individual's employment or employment history?

  • If so, is this in a context where it is personal to the individual?
  • Or is the individual acting in an official capacity or by virtue of his job or position?
  • Or was/is the employment with the government?
    • Does section 3(j) apply?
  • Is the employment in connection with a government contract?
    • Does section 3(k) apply?
  • Did the employment result from a government appointment?
    • Does section 3(j) or (l) apply?
   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Paragraph 3(c) -- Personal Identification

Identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned by the individual

Must relate to the individual in their personal capacity

Other particulars assigned to the individual

  • Must identify the individual
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

If the information reveals an address, is it the address of an identifiable individual?

Is it a home or other residential address?

  • If not, how is the address connected to the individual?

Is it a business address or address of a group?

  • If so, does the record identify the individual in a personal capacity or in an official capacity?
  • If the person is identified in an official capacity, is the business address connected with the group or organization or does it relate to the individual?
   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Paragraph 3(d)

  • Address, fingerprints, blood type.
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information assign a number, symbol or other identifier to an individual?

Does this identifier relate to the individual alone or does it identify a group of individuals?

  • If it identifies a group of individuals, is there a meaningful connection with an identifiable individual?
  • Does the group designation identify personal characteristics or other personal information about the individual?
    • i.e., membership in a club, religious organization
    • Membership in another group
    • Level of education
    • Professional designation

Is the identifier connected with other personal information identifying the individual?

  • i.e., name, address
  • If not, can the identity of the individual be determined from the identifier?
    • How?
  • Through publicly available sources?
  • Through other information in the record?
    • Specify other information.
    • How does this information identify the individual?

Does the identifier relate to the individual in their personal capacity?

  • Is the identifier assigned to the individual or does it relate to a position or job filled by the individual?
  • i.e., security clearances
  • Does the information requested relate to a security clearance assigned to a job?
  • Does the information requested relate to the level of security clearance of an individual?
   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Paragraphs 3(e), (g) and (h)

Views and Opinions.

Watch for section 3(j)(v), 3(k).

  • Must be view/opinion of an individual.
  • Were they are about another individual?
  • Can only be disclosed to the other individual.

Proposals for grants award and prizes by a government institution.

  • Can disclose views to the person about whom the views or opinions are expressed, without the name.
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information set out the views and opinions of an identifiable individual?

Does paragraph 3(j)(v) apply?

  • Is it the view or opinion expressed by an officer or employee of a government institution?
    • If so, was it given in the course of employment?
  • Is it the view or opinion of someone on contract to provide services to the government?
  • Is it expressed in the course of performance of contract or of providing services?
  • Is it the opinion or view of the individual or of the organization or firm that the individual is representing?

If it is the opinion or view of the individual, is it a personal opinion or conveyed in an official capacity?

Does the opinion or view represent the opinion or views of a group?

Does the information convey an opinion or view?

  • Is the information a recommendation as opposed to an opinion or view?

Does the information recite or analyze facts as opposed to expressing an opinion or view?

What does the opinion or view consist of?

Is the opinion or view about another individual?

  • If so, is the requestor the individual about whom the opinion or view was expressed?
  • If so, it can be disclosed under the Privacy Act?
  • If not, it cannot be disclosed unless paragraph 3(h) applies.

Is the opinion or view about a proposal for a grant, award or prize to be given to someone else?

  • If so, is the requestor the person to whom the grant, award or prize would be given?
  • If so, opinion may be disclosed to that requestor.
  • If requestor is someone else, opinion or view cannot be disclosed without effective severance.
  • Would severance of the name of the individual giving the opinion or view, and severance of the name of the individual about whom the opinion was expressed still identify the individuals concerned?
  • If so, how would the individuals be identified?

Is there other information in the record which would identify the individuals?

Is the nature of the grant, award or prize such that potential recipients can be easily identified?

  • Through publicly available sources?

Is the information about the grant, award or prize such that individuals judging or awarding grants can be easily identified?

  • From publicly available sources?

Is the grant, award or prize being awarded by a government institution specified in the regulations to the Privacy Act

  • If not, information is personal information and cannot be disclosed.
   

Paragraph 3(f)Privacy Act

Private and confidential correspondence

  • content must be personal and private in nature
  • does not apply to official correspondence

Watch for section 3(j)

  • does not apply to correspondence on a public issue
  • can be implicit
  • based on content of information
  • reply must reveal content of information

Watch for section 3(l)

Severance important

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Paragraph 3(i) --Names

names of individuals

  • must appear with other personal information; or
  • where name itself reveals information about the individual

Watch for section 3(j), (k) Severance must be considered

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information include names of individuals?

What other personal information appears with the name?

Is the information that appears with the name personal in nature?

  • Does the information relate to a job responsibility or function?
  • Does it relate to the position of the individual?
  • Is the individual employed by the government?
  • Does section 3(j) apply?

Does the name appear in the context of an individual dealing with the government as a representative of an organization or for a business purpose?

  • If so, name does not appear with other personal information?

Would the name itself reveal information about an identifiable individual?

  • Does the request relate to the personal characteristics or personal information about an individual?

Is there other information in the record which connects the name with personal information?

Does the person involve have a high public profile?

  • If so, does inclusion of that person's name in this document reveal information about the individual which is not already publicly known?

Does the title or heading in the document create personal information about the individuals named in the document?

  • How?

Would severance of the name leave information in the record which still identifies the individual?

  • If so, how?
  • From publicly available sources?
  • How accessible are these sources?
   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the record consist of correspondence by an individual with a government institution or government official?

Is the correspondence private or confidential in nature?

What does the correspondence relate to?

Is the correspondence sent by the individual in their personal capacity?

Is the information sent by an individual representing a group or organization?

  • If so, is the correspondence being sent from the group?
  • Is it being sent by the individual as a member of the group, but in their individual capacity?
    • i.e., whistle blowing letters.
    • Letters making personal suggestions about improvements to an organization?
    • Why is this content private and confidential in nature?

Does the correspondence relate to the position or functions of a government employee?

  • If so, is the correspondence sent by that government employee?

Is the correspondence sent by another government employee?

Is the correspondence sent by the government employee in their capacity as a government employee, or in their capacity as an individual?

Is the content of the correspondence routine?

Is the content of the correspondence administrative in nature?

Does the correspondence relate to a public issue or to public policy?

  • If so, is a view or opinion personal to the author being expressed?

Does this correspondence provide recommendations or analysis of a public issue by the author?

Was the correspondence explicitly sent on a private or confidential basis?

Does the person sending the correspondence request confidentiality?

Is the correspondence implicitly confidential or private?

  • Does it relate to the personal affairs or situation of the individual?
  • Does it relate to subject matter described in paragraphs 3(a), (b), (c) or (d)?

Does the reply reveal the content of the original correspondence?

Is the reply confined to matters dealing with public policy?

Does the reply apply government criteria for assistance or such matter to the individual?

Does the correspondence deal with the conferring of a benefit?

  • Is the benefit financial in nature?
  • Is the benefit an entitlement or discretionary?

Would severance of the name of the individual sending the correspondence eliminate the likelihood of the correspondence relating to an identifiable individual?

  • If not, why not?

Could the individual be identified from the correspondence through public, accessible sources?

   

Subsection - 19(3)

3. In this Act,'personal information' means information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing… but, for the purposes of sections 7, 8 and 26 and section 19 of the Access to Information Act, does not includeinformation about an individual who is or was an officer or employee of a government institution that relates to the position or functions of the individual including,

  1. the fact that the individual is or was an officer or employee of the government institution;
  2. the title, business address and telephone number of the individual;
  3. the classification, salary range and responsibilities of the position held by the individual;
  4. the name of the individual on a document prepared by the individual in the course of employment; and
  5. the personal opinions or views of the individual given in the course of employment.

Statement of Test to be Met

Officers and employees of government institution

  • must relate to position or function of individual
    • performance in the function is not included
    • personnel evaluations not included

Includes:

  • Employment history with the government
  • When employment with government ceased
  • Period of time employed by government
  • Position, title, location
  • General information about the duties and functions performed by the individual
  • Classification and salary range of position
  • Per diems, specific salaries not included

Identification of individual in course of employment

  • Documents by individual
  • Views and opinions of individual

Watch for paragraph 3(l)

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment
     

Section - 19

'Personal information' means information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing,

(k) information about an individual who is or was performing services under contract for a government institution that relates to the services performed, including the terms of the contract, the name of the individual and the opinions or views of the individual given in the course of the performance of those services

 

Statement of Test to be Met

  • Must be a contract for services
  • Relates to paragraph 21(2)(b)
  • Does not include evaluation of performance under the contract
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information relate to a contract for services between an individual and the government?

Is the individual employed pursuant to such a contract?

Does the individual perform services under the contract for the government institution?

Does the information relate to the terms of the contract?

Does the information relate to conclusions or views of the individual given in the course of the contract?

Does the information relate to an evaluation of the individual's performance under the contract?

   

Section - 19

'Personal information' means information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing,

(l) information relating to any discretionary benefit of a financial nature, including the granting of a licence or permit, conferred on an individual, including the name of the individual and the exact nature of the benefit,

Statement of Test to be Met

Discretionary benefit of a financial nature

  • benefit must be discretionary
  • must confer a financial benefit
    • licence or permit must confer a financial benefit
    • discounts, lower than market rates, subsidies are included
    • does not apply to salarial compensation
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Is the benefit conferred by a government institution?

Is the benefit discretionary?

  • Does the benefit result from the application of known criteria to an individual?
  • Does the benefit result from decisions on a case by case basis?
  • Does the benefit result from a lottery?
  • Is the benefit allocated on a first come first served basis?
  • Is the benefit allocated on the basis of individual decisions or individual consideration of applications by individual?
    • i.e., application for tenancy.

Is a financial benefit conferred

  • If a licence or permit is involved, what financial benefit is derived from it?
  • Are discounts, lower than market rate amounts or subsidies included?
    • What do these consist of?

Does the benefit relate to salarial compensation?

  • If so, see above under paragraph 3(j).
   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information relate to an individual who is an officer or employee of a government institution?

Is the government institution listed in the Schedule of the Access to Information Act/Privacy Act?

Is the employee currently employed by a government institution?

If not, was the person ever employed by a government institution?

  • Over what period of time?

Is the information described in subparagraphs (I)-(v)?

  • If not, does the information relate to the position or functions of the individual while an employee is in a government institution?

Generally, does the information relate to the general duties or activities connected with or required by the position, i.e.,

  • attendance logs
  • workplace phone logs (?)
  • e-mails

Information not covered by 3(j)

Is the information related to the individual's performance?

  • Is the information in the nature of a personnel evaluation or assessment? (remains exempt)

Does the information describe the effectiveness of the individual in performing the function?

Does the information describe the effectiveness of the individual in dealing with an issue for which the individual has responsibility?

Does the information relate to the employment history of the individual with the government?

  • If so, is this information restricted to information relating to positions or functions or responsibilities held by the individual?

Is it related to information contained in subpararagraphs (I) through (v)?

Does the information describe personal accomplishments or failures of the individual?

Does the information relate to how an individual is affected by government reorganization?

Does the information relate to changes in the responsibilities assigned to an individual?

  • Does this arise as a result of performance by the individual in their current position?
  • Does the change in responsibilities relate to the individual or to the reorganization affecting the position?

With respect to documents prepared by the individual:

  • does the information relate to grievance or discipline meetings or investigation of harassment complaints
  • If so, was the individual the griever or an employee being disciplined?
  • Was the individual present as a function of their government position or responsibilities?

Does the information relate to compensation given to a government employee?

  • If so, does the information disclose the salary or a per diem rate paid to an employee or officer?
  • Does the information describe an employment benefit received by an individual?
    • If so, is the benefit received as part of the salary of the individual?
    • Is the benefit attached to or come with the position held by the individual?
    • Does the benefit given to employees on a case by case basis?
    • Is the benefit given on a first come first served basis?
    • Is the benefit discretionary in nature?

Does the information describe a settlement of employment conditions between the individual and the government institution?

Does the information describe a severance package?

  • If so, is the severance package negotiated to avoid litigation?
  • Was the severance package determined by the application to the individual of government policy?
   

Section - 19

'Personal information' means information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing,

(m) information about an individual who has been dead for more than twenty years;

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Individual has been dead for more than twenty years

  • government institution must have reasonable basis for concluding section 3(m) does not apply
  • government institution must undertake some examination
  • assess against the period of time described in the information
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Does the information relate to an individual who could be dead for more than twenty years?

Has the government institution investigated this possibility?

  • If not, why not?

What period of time does the information relate to?

Is there a possibility the individual could have been dead?

Would this fact be known using available public sources?

  • examination in the public archives
  • examination in public libraries
  • on databases available to the government
   

Subsection - 19(2)

The head of a government institution may disclose any record requested under this Act that contains personal information if

  1. the individual to whom it relates consents to the disclosure;
  2. the information is publicly available; or
  3. the disclosure is in accordance with section 8 of the Privacy Act.

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Consent of individual to whom information relates

  • implicit or explicit
  • look at consent provided under the Privacy Act
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Has the individual consented to disclosure of the information?

Has the government institution sought consent of the individual?

  • If so, was consent refused?
  • Why was consent refused?
  • If not, why was consent not sought?

Has the individual provided an explicit direction to the government not to disclose the information?

Has the individual provided consent to disclosure under the provisions of the Privacy Act?

Has the individual implicitly consented to disclosure of the information?

See questions on whether information is publicly available.

Has the individual consented in the past to disclosure of the record?

Has the individual consented to disclose parts of the information?

Has the individual consented to disclose a version of the information which eliminates highly sensitive matters?

  • i.e. where monetary compensation is involved, disclosure of a range or other description (six months' salary) as opposed to specific amounts
   

Subsection - 19(2)

The head of a government institution may disclose any record requested under this Act that contains personal information if

  1. the individual to whom it relates consents to the disclosure;
  2. the information is publicly available; or
  3. the disclosure is in accordance with section 8 of the Privacy Act.

Statement of Test to be Met

Consent of individual to whom information relates

  • implicit or explicit
  • look at consent provided under the Privacy Act
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Has the individual consented to disclosure of the information?

Has the government institution sought consent of the individual?

  • If so, was consent refused?
  • Why was consent refused?
  • If not, why was consent not sought?

Has the individual provided an explicit direction to the government not to disclose the information?

Has the individual provided consent to disclosure under the provisions of the Privacy Act?

Has the individual implicitly consented to disclosure of the information?

See questions on whether information is publicly available.

Has the individual consented in the past to disclosure of the record?

Has the individual consented to disclose parts of the information?

Has the individual consented to disclose a version of the information which eliminates highly sensitive matters?

  • i.e. where monetary compensation is involved, disclosure of a range or other description (six months' salary) as opposed to specific amounts
   

Exemption: Personal Information

Section 8 -- Privacy Act

8(1) Personal information under the control of a government institution shall not, without the consent of the individual to whom it relates, be disclosed by the institution except in accordance with this section.

(2) Subject to any other Act of Parliament, personal information under the control of a government institution may be disclosed

  1. for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the institution for a use consistent with that purpose;
  2. for any purpose in accordance with any Act of Parliament or any regulation made thereunder that authorizes its disclosure;
  3. for the purpose of complying with a subpoena or warrant issued or order made by a court, person or body with jurisdiction to compel the production of information or for the purpose of complying with rules of court relating to the production of information;
  4. to the Attorney General of Canada for use in legal proceedings involving the Crown in right of Canada or the Government of Canada;
  5. to an investigative body specified in the regulations, on the written request of the body, for the purpose of enforcing any law of Canada or a province or carrying out a lawful investigation, if the request specifies the purpose and describes the information to be disclosed;
  6. under an agreement or arrangement between the Government of Canada or an institution thereof and the government of a province, the government of a foreign state, an international organization of states or an international organization established by the governments of states, or any institution of any such government or organization, for the purpose of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation;
  7. to a member of Parliament for the purpose of assisting the individual to whom the information relates in resolving a problem;
  8. to officers or employees of the institution for internal audit purposes, or to the office of the Comptroller General or any other person or body specified in the regulations for audit purposes;
  9. to the National Archives of Canada for archival purposes;
  10. to any person or body for research or statistical purposes if the head of the government institution
    1. is satisfied that the purpose for which the information is disclosed cannot reasonably be accomplished unless the information is provided in a form that would identify the individual to whom it relates, and
    2. obtains from the person or body a written undertaking that no subsequent disclosure of the information will be made in a form that could reasonably be expected to identify the individual to whom it relates;
  11. to any association of aboriginal people, Indian band, government institution or part thereof, or to any person acting on behalf of such association, band, institution or part thereof, for the purpose of researching or validating the claims, disputes or grievances of any of the aboriginal peoples of Canada;
  12. to any government institution for the purpose of locating an individual in order to collect a debt owing to Her Majesty in right of Canada by that individual or make a payment owing to that individual by Her Majesty in right of Canada; and
  13. for any purpose where, in the opinion of the head of the institution,
    1. the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure, or
    2. disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates.

Statement of Test to be Met

Provisions requiring an Access to Information Request

  • Paragraph 8(2)(a)
  • Disclosure authorized for a use consistent with the purpose for collecting the information

Determine why information was collected Determine the likely use of information if disclosed

  • Are these consistent with one another?
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment
     

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Paragraph 8(2)(b)

  • For any purpose where a statute or regulation authorizes disclosure
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Was the information generated pursuant to a statutory provision or regulation?

  • specify the provision

Does the statute or regulation require individuals outside the government to provide the information?

Does the statute or regulation allow disclosure of the information?

  • under what circumstances?

Is disclosure controlled?

How is disclosure controlled?

In what circumstances does the statute or regulation authorize disclosure?

  • to specified individuals

Is the requestor a person to whom disclosure would be authorized?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Would disclosure of the information be for a use consistent with the original purpose behind collecting the information?

To determine if this is the case:

Why was the information originally collected?

How is the information likely to be used if it is disclosed?

What is the reason that the information has been requested?

Is there a meaningful connection between the requestor and the information requested?

  • If so, what is the purpose for which this requestor has requested the information?

Is the likely use of the information consistent with the original purpose for collecting it?

Does the personal information concern individuals who are parties to a proceeding?

  • investigation of harassment complaints
  • disciplinary matters
  • staffing matters

Was the information collected in connection with this proceeding?

Is a party to the proceeding requesting the information?

Would disclosure of the information otherwise be given to the party in the course of the proceedings?

Would disclosure of the information to the requestor ordinarily take place?

Does the requestor want the information for a government purpose?

  • if this is the case, ask why the requestor had to use the Access to Information Act to get the information?

Does the requestor want the information for personal use?

  • if so, is this use connected with a government activity?
  • would use of the information outside of the government ordinarily take place?

Is use of the information outside of the government consistent with the reason the government obtained or generated the information?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Paragraph 8(2)(j) Research or statistical purposes

  • Determine if it is possible to disclose without identifying the individual
  • Ensure undertaking is provided not to identify individual in subsequent disclosure
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Is the information requested for researchers' statistical purposes?

Are there measures that can be taken to disclose the information without identifying the individual?

  • Would these measures compromise the research or statistical validity of the information?
    • if so, how?

Would the government institution be able to create a record which would avoid disclosing the identity of the individual?

Has the requestor provided an undertaking not to identify any individuals in subsequent disclosure?

What does this undertaking consist of?

Is the undertaking enforceable?

Has the requestor established that the information is required for a research or a statistical purpose?

What is being researched?

Why are the statistics being generated? What will the statistics show?

How will the research or statistics be used?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Public Interest Override

Paragraph 8(2)(m)

For any purpose where, in the opinion of the head of the government institution

  • the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure

Opinion of the head of institution

  • discretionary power
  • assess on basis of relevant considerations

Standard of proof is high

  • clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy

Standard of proof quantifying privacy interest is low

  • any invasion of privacy that could occur

Public interest in disclosure

  • characterize the public interest in disclosure
  • quantify its importance
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

What are the reasons favouring disclosure of this information?

Does the information relate to a private interest only, or does it relate to a matter of public concern?

Do these reasons relate to a public concern for interest?

Is there general public interest in knowing the information?

Is the information of use to the requestor only, or to a broader public group?

Would disclosure of the information subject the activities of the government to public scrutiny?

Would disclosure of the information reassure the public about government activity?

Would disclosure of the information promote public health and safety?

Would disclosure of the information assist the requestor in obtaining a fair determination of his or her rights?

Would disclosure of the information inform the public about the consumer issues?

Does the information concern an investigation into activity which is likely to generate significant public interest?

Why are the reasons in favour of disclosure compelling?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Any invasion of privacy?

  • characterize/quantify the invasion of privacy
  • assess the likelihood of an invasion of privacy
  • identify any mitigating measures that would reduce the invasion of privacy
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

What is the invasion of privacy that will result if the information is disclosed?

How serious is the invasion of privacy?

Is the personal information involved of a highly sensitive nature?

Would the individual to whom the personal information relates be unfairly exposed to financial harm?

  • to loss of reputation
  • to questioning about personal characteristics
  • to questions about the individual's personal integrity
  • to threats to the individual's safety

Is the personal information involved accurate or reliable?

  • if not, question what the public interest in disclosure would be.

Was the personal information supplied in confidence to the government institution?

  • was it supplied in the course of a confidential relationship?
  • doctor/patient
  • religious counselling
  • psychological or other counselling

What is the likelihood of harm from disclosure?

What is the likelihood of the above invasions of privacy?

Can the government institution sever the information in order to reduce the invasion of privacy?

Can the government institution provide an explanatory note or take other measures to reduce the invasion of privacy

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Balance the interests

  • weigh the likelihood and degree of invasion of privacy against reasons in favour of disclosure
  • assess which are more important
  • note that courts have stated disclosure in and of itself is an important public interest

Standard of Proof

  • do the reasons favouring disclosure to the public clearly outweigh the invasion of privacy
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Do the reasons in favour of disclosure outweigh the likelihood and degree of the invasion of privacy?

Is the public interest compelling?

Is the invasion of privacy minimal or serious in nature?

What factors were taken into account by the head of the government institution?

Are these consistent with the purpose of the Access to Information Act?

  • disclosure is the general rule and exceptions to disclosure are limited and specific

Are the factors consistent with the purpose of the Privacy Act?

  • to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves

Are the reasons for not disclosing the information proper?

  • is the information not being disclosed in order to avoid embarrassment
  • is the information not being disclosed in order to avoid a scrutiny of government operations
  • is the information not being disclosed in order to avoid public misunderstanding or debate

Are the reasons for not disclosing relevant to the purpose of avoiding invasion of privacy of the individuals concerned?

   

 

Statement of Test to be Met

Sub-paragraph 8(2)(m)(ii)

Clear benefit to the individual

  • look at likely use of the information
  • would the individual otherwise know about the benefit
  • is the benefit significant
  • mitigating measures to minimize invasion of privacy
    • undertakings
Relevant Questions Departmental Response Assessment

Would disclosure clearly benefit the individual about whom the information relates?

What is the likely use of the personal information?

Would the individual otherwise know about the benefit?

  • is the individual aware of the benefit?

What kind of benefit is involved?

  • Is it a financial benefit?

How large is the benefit?

Would disclosure of the information apprise the individual of a medical risk?

  • Would this information benefit the individual?

Has the individual about whom the information relates sought this information in the past?

Are there mitigating measures the institution can take to minimize the invasion of privacy?

Can the institution obtain an undertaking from the requestor not to use the information for purposes other than benefiting the individual?

Is this undertaking enforceable?

   
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