Commissioner Releases Report on Edmonton Police Service’s Practice of Requiring Identification from Applicants

September 13, 2006

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has ruled that the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is allowed to ask for identification prior to releasing records to applicants under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP).

In response to a complaint, the Commissioner initiated an investigation into the practice of the EPS requiring applicants to submit two copies of valid identification, including one piece of photographic identification. EPS would record the identification information. During the course of this investigation, the EPS amended the practice so as to only view the identification at the time of releasing records to an applicant. If an applicant made a request by mail, the EPS would accept a photocopy of the identification.

The Investigator found the practice to be consistent with the protection provisions of the FOIP Act as it is a reasonable security arrangement to protect the personal information of individuals from inappropriate access or disclosure. The receipt of the photocopied identification by mail was found to be permissible under the collection provisions of the FOIP Act.

The Investigator recommended that the EPS formalize this practice as a written policy so that it can be made available to applicants. The Investigator also recommended that the EPS ensure that the information collected only be used to verify the identity of the applicant.