Kim Barker v. Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, et al.

(Ont.) (Civil) (By Leave)

(Sealing order) (Certain information not available to the public)


Administrative law - Judicial review, Standard of review, Access to information, Exemptions - Administrative law — Judicial review — Standard of review — Access to Information — Government records — Exemptions — Statutes — Interpretation — Decision of Information Commissioner — Public interest — Whether Court of Appeal misinterpreted and misapplied s. 16 of Municipal Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56, which restricts application of public interest override to exemptions from disclosure of personal information — Whether Court applied wrong standard of review — Whether Court of Appeal formulated unworkable test for application or review of application of s. 16 of Municipal Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act.


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Algoma Public Health commissioned a forensic investigation into a former interim Chief Financial Officer’s conduct and whether there had been a conflict of interest in his hiring. Dr. Barker was the Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer of Algoma Public Health at the time of the Chief Financial Officer’s tenure. The investigator’s report contains personal information of Dr. Barker that normally would be subject to an exemption from disclosure set out in s. 14(1) of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56. Algoma Public Health received a request for access to the report from a news service. It determined that s. 16 of the Act allows disclosure because a compelling public interest in disclosure outweighs the purpose of the exemption. Dr. Barker appealed to the Information and Privacy Commissioner. The Commissioner upheld Algoma Public Health’s decision and later declined to reconsider his decision. The Divisional Court of Ontario granted an application for judicial review, quashed the Commissioner’s decisions, and ordered the Commissioner to rehear the appeal. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal.