FIPPA Amendments Overview

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, S.M 2008 c. 40, was passed on October 9, 2008 and came into force on January 1, 2011. This Act amends The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The major changes include:

Information and Privacy Adjudicator:

An Information and Privacy Adjudicator is appointed as an officer of the Legislative Assembly. Where a public body has not acted on the recommendations of the Ombudsman in an access or privacy complaint, the Ombudsman may refer the matter to the Adjudicator for review. The Adjudicator has the power to make an order against a public body that has not acted on the Ombudsman's recommendations. For example, the Adjudicator could order that a public body release information that has been withheld from an applicant for access, or that a public body change the way it collects, uses or discloses personal information.

Access to information:

  • The period during which Cabinet records are not accessible is reduced from 30 years to 20 years. A similar reduction is made for records that disclose advice to public bodies.
  • The period during which local public body confidences are not accessible is also reduced from 30 years to 20 years. (Local public bodies include municipalities, school divisions, regional health authorities, etc.)
  • It has been clarified that access to public opinion polls cannot be refused under the "advice to a public body" exception to access.
  • Confidential information that public bodies receive from band councils or organizations performing government functions on behalf of one of more bands is given the same protection from release as confidential information received from another government.
  • Public bodies are given discretion to disregard access requests that are frivolous or vexatious or that, because of their repetitious or systematic nature, would unreasonably interfere with the public body's operations or amount to an abuse of the rights to make access requests.
  • The requirement to provide a summary of each Minister’s yearly expenses has been added.
  • The requirement that public bodies prepare directories of records has been removed.

Protection of privacy:

  • Public bodies are permitted to disclose personal information for the purpose of delivering common or integrated services on specified conditions.
  • Public bodies are permitted to disclose personal information in order to evaluate or monitor their programs, or to carry out research and planning relating to them.
  • The ability to disclose business contact information has been clarified.
  • Universities and colleges are permitted to disclose contact information about alumni for fundraising purposes, subject to specified conditions.
  • New requirements respecting information managers who provide services to public bodies have been added.

The amendments can be found here. FIPPA (including the amendments) can be found here.

FIPPA Amendment Details can be found here.