Lethbridge Housing Authority Cooperates in Privacy Investigation

November 1, 2000

Information and Privacy Commissioner Bob Clark today released Investigation Report #2000-IR-003. The report concludes an investigation conducted under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The complainant is a former tenant with the Lethbridge Housing Authority.

She alleged that the Authority disclosed personal information about herself to a private landlord and to several businesses without her authorization. The Authority believed the complainant had provided her authorization two years earlier in a “consent to release” document signed by the then tenant.

The investigation found that:

  • the complainant had revoked her authorization prior to the release;
  • the release was never dated and was not specific enough to allow for informed consent; and,
  • the Authority had breached the complainant’s privacy.

The investigation concluded that consent to release information is, among other things, time sensitive and should be time specific. Generic authorizations do not fulfill the obligation for a public body to obtain specific and current consent from an individual when releasing personal information.

The Authority was very cooperative during the investigation and agreed to the recommendations contained in the report.