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. 189 ground: paras. 197 and 199. This inquiry of course is contextual and how much evidence and the quality of evidence needed to meet this standard will ultimately depend on the nature of the issue and “inherent probabilities or improbabilities or the seriousness of the allegations or consequences”…683 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.684 A reasonable expectation of prejudice to economic interest is not established by simply asserting that disclosure of records would result in financial loss or that it would interfere in future business dealings. Nor is it established by the mere prospect of heightened competition flowing from disclosure: Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v Canada (National Capital Commission), 147 FTR (Fed CT). The use of the word “reasonably” in subsection 18(1)(f) adds an objective and qualitative element to the analysis required: Kattenburg v Manitoba (Industry, Trade and Tourism) (1999), 143 Man R 92d) 42 (Man QB).685 While direct evidence of specific future harm is not required, there must be an explanation based on the evidence to establish that the harm feared is more than speculative or “merely possible”. The evidence must be more than conjecture: Canada (Information Commissioner) v Toronto Port Authority, 2016 FC 683.686 683 Ontario (Community Safety and Correctional Services) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner), [2014] 1 SCR 674, 2014 SCC 31 (CanLII) at [54]. 684 Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Access to Information Manual, Chapter 11.14.4. Available at Accessed August 29, 2019. 685 Leo v Global Transportation Hub Authority, 2019 SKQB 150 at [53]. 686 Leo v Global Transportation Hub Authority, 2019 SKQB 150 at [54].