Investigation Concludes Disclosure by City of Calgary Lawyer Was Wrong But Not a Breach of the FOIP Act

November 16, 2000

Information and Privacy Commissioner Bob Clark today released Investigation Report 1999-IR-009. The report concludes an investigation conducted under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the “FOIP Act”).

The Complainant had applied to the City of Calgary under the FOIP Act for access to information. Subsequently, a City of Calgary lawyer (the “Lawyer”) wrote to an external legal firm about the Complainant’s request for access to information. The legal firm had represented the Complainant previously on another matter. The Lawyer also sent a copy of the letter to the Taxi Commission.

The investigation found that the Lawyer was not authorized to respond to access requests on behalf of the City of Calgary, and that the Lawyer’s actions had the potential of placing the City of Calgary in a position of breaching the FOIP Act.

However, this matter was rectified by the actions of the City of Calgary’s FOIP Coordinator who was authorized to respond to access requests.

The investigation also found that the Complainant was a corporation and not an individual. In previous orders, the Commissioner determined that only individuals could have personal information. Corporations and other entities that are not single human beings cannot have personal information. As a corporation cannot have personal information, there can be no breach of personal privacy. Therefore, no further action is warranted regarding the alleged disclosures by the City of Calgary and the Taxi Commission.

The investigation concluded that the disclosure by the Lawyer is wrong, but not a violation of the privacy provisions set out under Part 2 of the FOIP Act. If the circumstances had involved an individual, the investigation’s conclusion on this matter may be different. The investigation recommends that the City of Calgary ensure its employees understand their respective roles and responsibilities under the FOIP Act.