Guide to FOIP-Chapter 1

Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner. Guide to FOIP, Chapter 1, Purposes and Scope of FOIP. Updated 7 March 2023 14 IPC Findings In Review Report F-2014-007, the Commissioner reviewed a denial of access involving the Ministry of Justice (Justice). An applicant had requested any records containing the name of an individual written, processed or possessed by a specific government employee. Justice responded to the request indicating that it did not have any responsive records in its possession or control and that any records were the personal records of the government employee which it described as emails. The applicant requested a review by the Commissioner. Upon review, the Commissioner applied the 15 factors noted in this Chapter (this was prior to the two-part Supreme Court of Canada test). The Commissioner found that Justice had possession of the records as the emails exist on the government email server. When considering “control”, the Commissioner noted that in support of its position that the emails were of a personal nature and not government business, Justice provided a sample email which was a letter sent from a family member to the government employee at his work address and the contents was of a personal nature. After considering the 15 factors, the Commissioner determined that Justice did not have a measure of control over the records. This finding was consistent with City of Ottawa v. Ontario, 2010 ONSC 6835 which also dealt with personal emails in the possession of an employer. In Review Report 007-2019, the Commissioner reviewed a denial of access involving the former Ministry of Central Services (Central Services). An applicant had requested access to personal emails sent and received from the applicant’s (a former employee) Government of Saskatchewan email account. Central Services responded to the request indicating that any responsive records were personal emails that were outside the scope of FOIP and not in the possession or control of Central Services. Upon review, the Commissioner found that any emails sent or received by the applicant constituting their personal emails, that were retained on the backup tapes, were not in the possession or control of Central Services for the purposes of FOIP. In Review Report 297-2021, the Commissioner found that a portion of an applicant’s access to information request sent to the Ministry of Justice involved information maintained by ISC in the public registry. The Commissioner found the Ministry of Justice still maintained control of the information. As a result, the Ministry of Justice directed ISC to conduct an additional search for responsive records. ISC located an additional email chain.