A Potpourri of Access Orders: Practical Guidance in Responding to Access Requests

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Explore:  FOIP PIPA

The Alberta Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has recently released several Orders relating to access to personal information pursuant to the Personal Information and Privacy Act (“PIPA”).

Access to information is not only relevant to public bodies subject to access to information legislation such as the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the “FOIP Act”) or federal Access to Information Act. It is also relevant to private sector companies, professional regulatory organizations, and certain non-profit organizations under PIPA, or under other similar private sector privacy legislation, as well as to health care providers and other custodians subject to legislation such as the Alberta Health Information Act (the “HIA”). What changes between these Acts is not the process for responding to access requests, but the scope of the information that an applicant can request.1

Under PIPA, an applicant can seek access to his or her own personal information (information “about” the applicant). Under the HIA, an applicant can seek access to his or her own health information (specific health information listed in the HIA or more generally, information collected about the applicant in the course of the provision of health services). Under the FOIP Act, a requester can seek access not only to his or her own personal information, but also to any records under the custody or control of the public body in question.