Supreme Court of Canada Grants Leave to Appeal in Case Involving Solicitor-Client Privilege

October 29, 2015

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has granted the Information and Privacy Commissioner leave to appeal the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta v. Board of Governors of the University of Calgary.

The case involves the Commissioner’s ability to compel production of records in order to determine whether solicitor-client privilege has been properly claimed over records sought in an access to information request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

This case has significant implications for upholding the access rights of Albertans. Specifically, it impacts the Commissioner’s ability to provide effective oversight when reviewing decisions made by government ministries, post-secondary institutions, school boards and municipalities, among others, in response to access to information requests.

This situation stemmed from a wrongful dismissal suit filed by a former employee against the University of Calgary (U of C). The former employee had requested certain records but the U of C claimed solicitor-client privilege over some of the records.

The timelines for the SCC to hear the case have not yet been determined.

For information about the case, please visit the SCC’s website.