On October 19, 2017, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced a joint resolution put forth by the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Canada (IPCs). The joint resolution calls on federal, provincial, and territorial governments across Canada to ensure that their respective access to information and privacy legislation empowers IPCs to compel the production of records over which privilege has been claimed by public bodies.
This joint resolution is a response to the recent decision in Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. University of Calgary, 2016 SCC 53, in which the Supreme Court of Canada found that the legislative language used in Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) did not express a sufficiently “clear, explicit and unequivocal" intention to empower the Commissioner to compel records subject to solicitor-client privilege. This conclusion was reached despite FOIP stating that a public body must produce to the Commissioner records on demand “[d]espite any other enactment or any privilege of the law of evidence”.
The IPCs called on governments across Canada to amend their access to information and privacy legislation to express an “unambiguous intention” that the associated Commissioner is authorized to compel the production of records over which solicitor-client privilege is claimed.
Summary By: Jae Morris