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. 195 nature of the issue and “inherent probabilities or improbabilities or the seriousness of the allegations or consequences”…696 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.697 Undue means excessive or disproportionate.698 The word ‘undue’ must be given real meaning, determined in the circumstances of each case. Generally speaking, that which is ‘undue’ can only be measured against that which is ‘due’.699 Persons or businesses that contract with public bodies (local authorities, government institutions, and health trustees) must have some understanding that those dealings are necessarily more transparent than purely private transactions. Even if one assumes loss could be expected to the person or business, such loss would not be ‘undue’.700 696 Ontario (Community Safety and Correctional Services) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner), [2014] 1 SCR 674, 2014 SCC 31 (CanLII) at [54]. 697 Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Access to Information Manual, Chapter 11.14.4. Available at Accessed August 29, 2019. 698 British Columbia Government Services, FOIPPA Policy and Procedures Manual at . Accessed July 17, 2019. 699 BC IPC Order 00-08 at p. 17. See also Howard Smith Paper Mills Ltd. v. The Queen (1957), 1957 CanLII 11 (SCC), 29 C.P.R. 6 (S.C.C.), at p. 425. 700 Adapted from BC IPC Order 00-41 at Appendix p. viii.