Release of Personal Information for Public Safety

October 15, 2007

Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work reminded law enforcement officials and the public that the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act requires public officials to notify the public of risks to public safety (section 32). This follows media reports that photographs of Emrah Bulatci, a person wanted by police in connection with a murder in the Northwest Territories, were not released earlier due to privacy concerns.

“The law contains a positive duty to warn the public of risks to health and safety. After 11 years, public officials should be well aware of this provision. Using privacy as a reason not to warn is misleading and sets privacy against security.” Work said.

If any public officials are not sure about the application of this provision, they should contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner at 780 422-6860.