Commissioner Releases Investigation Report Regarding Privacy Complaint Against the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

June 17, 2004

Frank Work, Information and Privacy Commissioner, received a privacy complaint against NAIT. The Complainant said NAIT contravened the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“the FOIP Act”) by disclosing information about the Complainant in a news article.

In the news article, a NAIT employee referenced a specific individual who is also employed with NAIT. Although the individual is not identified by name, the investigation found:

  • the information is about an “identifiable” individual given the amount of information disclosed and the number of individuals who could match the description outlined in the news article. Therefore, the information disclosed is “personal information” as defined by the FOIP Act.
  • the disclosure did not fall under any of the authorized disclosure provisions set out in the FOIP Act.

NAIT says the contact with the media that resulted in the news article was “an inadvertent deviation” from its normal practice. As a result, NAIT is reviewing its practices and internal communication of those practices to prevent future similar recurrences.