Guide to FOIP-Chapter 6

Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner. Guide to FOIP, Chapter 6, Protection of Privacy. Updated 27 February 2023. 76 Opinions are views or judgements not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.218 Views are particular ways of regarding something; an attitude or opinion.219 For an organization, public or private, to give voice to its views on a subject matter of interest to it, individuals must be given responsibility for speaking on its behalf. Views and opinions, which individuals express within the context of their employment responsibilities, are not personal opinions or views. Nor is the information “about” the individual. The individuals expressing the position of an organization, in the context or a public or private organization, act simply as a conduit between the intended recipient of the communication and the organization which they represent. The voice is that of the organization, expressed through its spokesperson, rather than that of the individual delivering the message.220 There is often confusion between subsections 24(1)(f), 24(1)(h) and 24(2)(c) of FOIP. All three provisions deal with views and opinions of individuals. The following examples will help clarify the three provisions: 24(1)(f) - the views or opinions expressed by an individual are the individual’s personal information. For example, an individual writes, “I am a bad student” or “I think exercise is overrated”. It is the individual’s personal views or opinions about something and is therefore the individual’s personal information. If the views or opinions are about someone else – subsection 24(1)(h) of FOIP applies. 24(1)(h) - the views or opinions expressed by an individual about another individual are the personal information of the individual they are about. For example, an individual writes, “Smith is a bad student” or “Smith exercises but is still out of shape”. The individual’s opinion is about Smith so the opinion is Smith’s personal information. 24(2)(c) – the views or opinions expressed by employees of a government institution, given in the course of employment, are not the personal information of the employee. For example, an employee writes, “I think we should proceed with this project” or “I think we are on the right course”. An employee’s views or opinions in terms of work product are not the employee’s personal information. This is because the employee is only offering the opinion or view as part of their employment responsibilities, not in a 218 Pearsall, Judy, Concise Oxford Dictionary, 10th Ed., (Oxford University Press) at p. 999. See also SK OIPC Review Reports F-2006-004 at [43], LA-2013-003 at [26] and 139-2017 at [91]. 219 Pearsall, Judy, Concise Oxford Dictionary, 10th Ed., (Oxford University Press) at p. 1598. 220 ON IPC Reconsideration Order R-980015 at p. 17.