Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta v. Board of Governors of the University of Calgary
(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)
Privacy - Access to information.
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Privacy - Access to information - What words must a statute employ to empower a tribunal to review records to determine whether a claim of privilege is valid?
In the course of a wrongful dismissal suit by an individual against the respondent University, the University asserted solicitor-client privilege over certain material. The individual made an access to information request under s. 7 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. F-25, seeking certain records about her in the University’s possession. The University provided some disclosure, but claimed solicitor-client privilege over some of the requested material. The Commissioner’s delegate eventually directed the University to the Commissioner’s “Solicitor-Client Privilege Adjudication Protocol”. When the University did not comply, the delegate issued a “notice to produce records” under s. 56(3) of the Act. It reads, in part, “[t]he Commissioner may require any record to be produced to the Commissioner and may examine any information in a record… [d]espite any other enactment or any privilege of the law of evidence”. The delegate indicated in an accompanying letter that the purpose of the notice was to enable him to determine whether solicitor-client privilege had been properly asserted because the University had not provided sufficient evidence to allow him to make that determination. The University sought judicial review of the delegate’s decision to issue the notice to produce. The Law Society of Alberta was granted intervener status at the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal. The application for judicial review was dismissed, and the subsequent appeal was allowed.
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