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. 14 Public Interest Override FOIP does not contain an overarching public interest override which would require that information be disclosed in all cases where the general public interest in disclosure outweighs the specific interest which is intended to be protected by the exempting provision. Rather, the public interest in disclosure is addressed on a case-by-case basis only in connection with two exemptions in FOIP.28 These are subsections 19(3) and 29(2)(o). The purpose of adding a public interest override includes promoting democracy by increasing public participation. When considering a public interest override, the government institution should create a list of factors in favour of withholding and public interest factors for releasing. This will help when it comes to assessing the relative weight of the factors.29 Generally, a government institution should not consider factors such as embarrassment, loss of confidence in the government, potential misunderstanding or that release could result in unnecessary confusion and debate.30 Subsection 19(3) Third party information 19(3) Subject to Part V, a head may give access to a record that contains information described in subsection (1) if: (a) disclosure of that information could reasonably be expected to be in the public interest as it relates to public health, public safety or protection of the environment; and (b) the public interest in disclosure could reasonably be expected to clearly outweigh in importance any: (i) financial loss or gain to; (ii) prejudice to the competitive position of; or (iii) interference with contractual or other negotiations of; a third party. 28 Government of Canada, Department of Justice, Resource, Strengthening the Access to Information Act,, accessed June 7, 2019. 29 Office of the Newfoundland and Labrador Information and Privacy Commissioner (NFLD IPC), Resource, Guidelines for Public Interest Override at pp. 2 and 3. 30 NFLD IPC Resource, Guidelines for Public Interest Override at pp. 2 and 3.