Practice Areas

Access to Information and Privacy Law

Lawyers in this area of practice

This complex and challenging area requires attention to detail. Recent trends show the public is more often requesting copies of documentation and wanting information acquired by municipal governments. Knowing when and how much information to release is important to a municipality in order that it can be open and accountable to the public. This satisfies the public's need for knowledge, yet complies with the legislative requirements to protect the confidential information it acquires when running the municipality.
 
Access to Information
Our advisory team has experience representing municipal governments and quasi-municipal boards and organizations in dealing with information requests received from the public, responding to investigations by ombudsman officials, and appearing before the courts. The purpose of access to information in government is to provide transparency in how government operates and to hold government accountable to the public and the voters. This access however, must be balanced with the concerns of openness and confidentiality. Therefore, several types of information are exempt from being accessed. Knowing when and what can be accessed is important to the running of a municipality.
 
Privacy Law
Everyone has a right to the protection of their personal information and privacy. Organizations such as municipalities are more often being challenged on their use, collection, disclosure, and storage of personal information. As well, there are specific obligations to (or imposed on) entities that collect, use, and disclose the private information they collect.
 
Our Goal
Our advisory team has been providing advice and assistance to municipalities on access to information requests and privacy law for many years. We have also presented seminars on this subject matter to municipal officals.
 
We provide advice to our clients on the following matters:
  • the roles and responsibilities of local government
  • creation and advising on policies for information requests and privacy matters
  • advising on information requests and record retention practices in general
  • what records and information are producible
  • procedures for the release of records and information
  • opinions on the release of specific records and information
  • responding to investigations by ombudsman and provincial auditors
Characteristic Work and Projects:
  • May 2, 2011, Presentation to the Manitoba Municipal Administrators’ Association on The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act of Manitoba