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. 2 THE RIGHT OF PRIVACY FOIP has two fundamental components: the right to access information and the protection of personal privacy. Part II of FOIP deals with access to records. Part IV of FOIP deals with protection of personal privacy. Privacy is defined as the general right of the individual to be left alone, to be free from interference, from surveillance and from intrusions. It is the right of an individual to be able to control access to, as well as, the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information. Privacy captures both security and confidentiality of personal information.1 Privacy connotes concepts of intimacy, identity, dignity, and integrity of the individual.2 Protection of personal privacy means that individuals have a right to privacy of their personal information that is held by government institutions. To achieve this, FOIP establishes restrictions on the collection, use and/or disclosure of personal information. The provisions that address these restrictions are found at Part IV of FOIP. FOIP promotes transparency, openness, and accountability. Holding government institutions to account is important for democracy. Decision-makers must balance this important objective with the competing objective of the right to privacy. Privacy rights and the role of protection of personal information also play a role in a free and democratic society.3 In R. v. Dyment, 1988 CanLII 10 (SCC), [1988] 2 SCR 417, Justice LaForest stated: 22. Finally, there is privacy in relation to information. This too is based on the notion of the dignity and integrity of the individual. As the Task Force put it (p. 13): "This notion of privacy derives from the assumption that all information about a person is in a fundamental way his own, for him to communicate or retain for himself as he sees fit." In modern society, especially, retention of information about oneself is extremely important. We may, for one reason or another, wish or be compelled to reveal such information, but situations abound where the reasonable expectations of the individual that the information shall remain confidential to the persons to whom, and restricted to the purposes for which it is divulged, must be protected. Governments at all levels have in recent years recognized this and have devised rules and regulations to restrict the uses of 1 Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner (SK OIPC) 2012-2013 Annual Report at Appendix 3, Definitions p. 100. See also SK OIPC Dictionary. 2 Canada (Information Commissioner) v. Canada (Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board), 2006 FCA 157 (CanLII), [2007] 1 FCR 203 at [52]. 3 Hans v. STU, 2016 NBKB 49 (CanLII) at [20].