Guide to FOIP-Chapter 4

Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner. Guide to FOIP, Chapter 4, Exemptions from the Right of Access. Updated 8 April 2024. 182 nature of the issue and “inherent probabilities or improbabilities or the seriousness of the allegations or consequences”…656 The government institution does not have to prove that a harm is probable but needs to show that there is a “reasonable expectation of harm” if any of the information were to be released. In British Columbia (Minister of Citizens’ Service) v. British Columbia (Information and Privacy Commissioner), (2012), Bracken J. confirmed it is the release of the information itself that must give rise to a reasonable expectation of harm. Government institutions should not assume that the harm is self-evident. The harm must be described in a precise and specific way in order to support the application of the provision. The expectation of harm must be reasonable, but it need not be a certainty. The evidence of harm must: • Show how the disclosure of the information would cause harm; • Indicate the extent of harm that would result; and • Provide facts to support the assertions made.657 Exemption from disclosure should not be granted on the basis of fear of harm that is fanciful, imaginary, or contrived. Such fears of harm are not reasonable because they are not based on reason…the words “could reasonably be expected” “refer to an expectation for which real and substantial grounds exist when looked at objectively”…658 When determining whether disclosure could interfere with contractual or other negotiations of the government institution or the Government of Saskatchewan, the following questions can be asked to assist: • What negotiations would be affected by disclosure. • Are these negotiations ongoing. • Have the negotiations been concluded. • At what stage are the negotiations. • How long have they been going on. • What is the subject matter of the negotiations. 656 Ontario (Community Safety and Correctional Services) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner), [2014] 1 SCR 674, 2014 SCC 31 (CanLII) at [54]. 657 Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Access to Information Manual, Chapter 11.14.4. Available at Accessed August 29, 2019. 658 Canadian Bank Note Limited v Saskatchewan Government Insurance, 2016 SKQB 362 (CanLII) at [49] relying on Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. v. Canada (Health), [2012] 1 SCR 23, 2012 SCC 3 (CanLII) at [204].