The OIPC issues and is subject to a variety of decisions. The following list provides a brief explanation of the types of decisions.
- Orders: An order is issued at the conclusion of an inquiry. An inquiry is the final stage of a request for review or privacy complaint. If an applicant or complainant does not accept the findings and recommendations made during mediation and investigation, they may ask to proceed to inquiry. Inquiries are formal adjudicative proceedings in which the Commissioner, or a delegated Adjudicator, receives submissions from all parties involved in the matter and decides all issues of fact and law in an order. Orders are enforceable in court and may be subject to judicial review.
- Judicial Reviews: Judicial review applications of an order must be made no later than 45 days after the person making the application receives a copy of the order. The application for judicial review is made to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. Reported judicial review decisions are available on CanLII at www.canlii.org. Oral unreported judicial review decisions are available from the Court of Queen's Bench.
- Breach Notification Decisions: The Personal Information Protection Act requires private sector organizations to notify the Commissioner and affected individuals where there exists "a real risk of significant harm" to an individual as a result of a privacy breach. Decisions where there was a real risk of significant harm are published. Decisions where there was no real risk of significant harm are not published. Some decisions made under the Health Information Act are also published. The Commissioner may confirm a custodian’s decision not to notify or by order require notice to an affected individual (section 85.1(2)).
- Investigation Reports: The Commissioner has the power to conduct investigations to ensure compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Health Information Act and Personal Information Protection Act. The results of some of these investigations are included in public investigation reports.
- Requests to Disregard: A request to disregard is made under section 55 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, section 87 of the Health Information Act and section 37 of the Personal Information Protection Act. Under those provisions, the Commissioner has the power to authorize a public body, health custodian and private sector organization to disregard access requests in certain circumstances.
- External Adjudication Orders:Section 75 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and section 96 of the Health Information Act allow for an external adjudicator to be appointed to rule in place of the Commissioner.
- Other Decisions: A "decision" is a direction issued by the Commissioner during an inquiry that does not usually conclude the inquiry. The type of decision that typically concludes an inquiry is called an "order". A "section 70 decision" is made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and provides the Commissioner with the ability to refuse to conduct an inquiry. An "advance ruling" is made under the Personal Information Protection Act (section 36(3)) where the Commissioner may, on request, give advance rulings in respect of any matters that are or could potentially be the subject of an investigation.
- Other Reports: Other review reports that do not fit the criteria for the other decision items listed above.