Public Disclosure - Tribunal (LTB)

From Riverview Legal Group


Caselaw.Ninja, Riverview Group Publishing 2021 ©
Date Retrieved: 2022-10-07
CLNP Page ID: 570
Page Categories: [Privacy], [Hearing Process (LTB)], [Interference of Reasonable Enjoyment (LTB)], [Tribunal Record Requests (ON)]
Citation: Public Disclosure - Tribunal (LTB), CLNP 570, <62>, retrieved on 2022-10-07
Editor: Sharvey
Last Updated: 2022/01/24


Tribunal Adjudicative Records Act, 2019, S.O. 2019, c. 7, Sched. 60[1]

Assented to May 29, 2019

1 (1) In this Act,

“adjudicative record” means a record referred to in subsection (2); (“document décisionnel”)
“confidentiality order” means an order made by a tribunal under subsection 2 (2); (“ordonnance de confidentialité”)
“tribunal” means an adjudicative tribunal prescribed by the regulations made under this Act. (“tribunal”)

Adjudicative records

(2) Subject to subsection (3), the following are adjudicative records for the purposes of this Act:
1. An application or other document by which a proceeding before a tribunal is commenced.
2. A notice of a hearing before a tribunal.
3. A written submission filed with a tribunal in respect of a proceeding before the tribunal.
4. A document that has been admitted as evidence at a hearing of a tribunal or otherwise relied upon by a tribunal in making a decision or an order.
5. A transcript of oral evidence given at a hearing of a tribunal.
6. A decision or an order made by a tribunal and any reasons for the decision or order.
7. A docket or schedule of hearings of a tribunal.
8. A register of proceedings before a tribunal.
9. Any other record that relates to a proceeding before a tribunal and that is prescribed by the regulations made under this Act.
...

2 (1) A tribunal shall make those adjudicative records in its possession that relate to proceedings commenced on or after the day this section comes into force available to the public in accordance with this Act, including any rules made under section 3.

(2) A tribunal may, of its own motion or on the application of a person referred to in subsection (3), order that an adjudicative record or portion of an adjudicative record be treated as confidential and that it not be disclosed to the public if the tribunal determines that,
(a) matters involving public security may be disclosed; or
(b) intimate financial or personal matters or other matters contained in the record are of such a nature that the public interest or the interest of a person served by avoiding disclosure outweighs the desirability of adhering to the principle that the record be available to the public.
...

7 In the event of a conflict between a provision of this Act and a provision of any other Act or a regulation made under another Act, the provision of this Act prevails unless the regulations made under this Act provide otherwise.

Toronto Star v. AG Ontario, 2018 ONSC 2586 (CanLII)[2]

[57] The very structure of the process that FIPPA puts in place for obtaining records from its designated institutions impinges on the openness principle and s. 2(b) of the Charter, as elaborated by the courts. As reviewed earlier in these reasons, s. 2(1) of FIPPA defines “personal information” in the broadest possible terms, while s. 21(1) (which is reiterated in s. 42(1)) sets out a presumption of non-disclosure of personal information and imposes an onus on the requesting party to justify the disclosure of the record. The IPC in its rulings on disclosure has emphasized that, “In the case of information that qualifies as “personal information” under [FIPPA], there is a strong assumption against disclosure”.[61]

[58] As also explained above, these provisions apply not only to records held by the listed institutions as a matter of the business or administration of the institutions but to Adjudicative Records as well – including evidence filed before tribunals, complaints and other pleadings that form the originating processes before tribunals, dockets and schedules for hearings, transcripts of proceedings, etc. The upshot of these statutory provisions is that the openness principle does not apply as of right to the tribunals governed by the FIPPA process; rather, a person or the press that seeks access to Adjudicative Records bears the onus of establishing that an exception to the non-disclosure of personal information rule applies. Again, this is not an insubstantial onus.

...

[61] The CLA case, in other words, did not deal with Adjudicative Records such as those in issue here; and since the documents were investigative and were not part of a record before an adjudicative tribunal, the open court principle did not apply. The same is true of the other cases referred to by counsel for the Attorney General in this regard. One of those cases entails a request by a university employee for a psychological report contained in his personnel records held by the university;[69] another entails a request by a reporter for an Auditor General forensic report “directed at the detection of fraud, waste and wrongdoing involving city resources;”[70] while a third entails a request for hospital records pertaining to the provision of abortion services.[71] None of them entails a request for Adjudicative Records.

[62] As already indicated, FIPPA does not distinguish between Adjudicative Records and non-adjudicative records. But the open court principle in s. 2(b) of the Charter only applies to Adjudicative Records. This very point lies at the core of the Supreme Court’s reasoning in CLA: “Access to documents in government hands is constitutionally protected only where it is…compatible with the function of the institution concerned.”[72] Government agencies and public administrative bodies that hold investigative reports, personnel records, business and accounting records, and the like other than in an Adjudicative Record, are not subject to the open court principle.[73] They are obliged under CLA to implement transparency only where disclosure of their records is necessary for democratic process.

[63] Adjudicative Records, on the other hand, like court records, are not only entirely compatible with transparency but require it for the sake of the integrity of the administration of justice.[74] The rationale for maintaining confidentiality over records accumulated by law enforcement and forensic examiners at the investigation stage of a complaint or dispute does not, absent some special circumstance, continue into the open hearing or post-hearing stage of proceedings.[75] Thus, while access to government business records, including the content of personnel and investigative audits, is granted or withheld subject to the CLA test of “meaningful public discussion”, the question of access to documents filed in the Adjudicative Record before administrative tribunals must be answered in accordance with the Charter,[76] including s. 2(b) and the open court principle.

[64] Like most reverse onus provisions, one purpose and effect of s. 21(1) of FIPPA and the operation of the exceptions thereto is, simply put, to facilitate the government’s case against the party arguing against it.[77] This obviously makes it more difficult for the press and other document requesters to exercise the rights which they otherwise have under the Charter.

[65] This statutory imposition of an onus on the requester to justify the disclosure of Adjudicative Records may or may not be justifiable, but it certainly amounts in the first instance to an infringement on the s. 2(b) Charter right of access to those documents. The Supreme Court has stated emphatically that when it comes to access of the press to Adjudicative Records, “covertness is the exception and openness the rule.”[78] In fashioning a regime that prohibits the disclosure of “personal information” unless the press can establish its justification, FIPPA has it the wrong way around.

...

[72] When it comes to fundamental Charter guarantees such as the openness principle, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression, “any encroachment upon the guarantees demand[s] justification by the state on a stringent basis.”[89] Having found that FIPPA violates s. 2(b) of the Charter in two respects – substantively by imposing a reverse onus on a request for Adjudicative Records, and procedurally by occasioning delay in accessing Adjudicative Records – it is necessary to turn to s. 1 of the Charter. It is here that the analysis of Charter rights takes on “a more contextual approach and indicate[s] the harms that might be caused to other rights and interests”.[90] These include, most notably, the privacy rights of litigants and the administration of justice in administrative tribunals.

[73] In considering whether FIPPA’s limits on freedom of expression are reasonable and justifiable in a free and democratic society, the analysis follows the Oakes test.[91] It will therefore consider whether the legislative objective is pressing and substantial, whether the means chosen by the legislature is rationally connected to the objective, whether the legislation minimally impairs the right of free expression, and whether it is proportional considering the deleterious and salutary effects on the right.

...

[95] An across-the-board presumption such as that embodied in s. 21 of FIPPA, in which privacy and non-disclosure rather than openness and disclosure is the presumptive rule, cannot qualify as a minimum impairment of s. 2(b) of the Charter. The open court principle is the fundamental one and the personal information and privacy concerns are secondary to it.[119] That principle directs administrative tribunals to protect confidentiality only where a party seeking it establishes that it is necessary to protect important interests.[120] Although the decision-maker may be exercising a statutory discretion taking into account the context on a case by case basis, the onus must remain on the party seeking to keep the information from the public rather than the other way around.

...

[106] In any case, the various timelines built into the FIPPA system appear designed to make the system operate fairly. One cannot act judicially in making an access determination without giving notice to affected parties and providing some amount of time for a response. The specific notice and other time periods provided for in FIPPA may or may not be ideal, but there is little evidence that the problems are with FIPPA’s terms on their face. Where the evidence in the record shows that there have been inordinate delays, the source of the problems may lie more with the particular administrators or decision makers who extend the FIPPA timelines than with the statutory system itself. Once the reverse onus on personal information is removed, those human delay factors will hopefully be reduced.

[107] The Charter requires public access to Adjudicative Records, which may be tempered on a case-by-case basis by other considerations – integrity of the administration of justice, safety and security of informants and other third parties, privacy for complainants and other litigants, etc. For an unconstitutional law, “the usual remedy lies under s. 52(1), which provides that the law is of no force or effect to the extent that it is inconsistent with the Charter…. Section 24(1), by contrast, is generally used as a remedy, not for unconstitutional laws, but for unconstitutional government acts”.[128]

...

[143] There shall be a declaration that the application of ss. 21(1) to (3) and related sections of FIPPA pertaining to the presumption of non-disclosure of “personal information” to Adjudicative Records held by the remaining institutions named in the Notice of Application infringes s. 2(b) of the Charter and is not justified under s. 1. It is therefore of no force or effect.

[144] The declaration of invalidity of this aspect of FIPPA is suspended for 12 months from the date of this judgment.

[2]

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31

21 (1) A head shall refuse to disclose personal information to any person other than the individual to whom the information relates except,

(a) upon the prior written request or consent of the individual, if the record is one to which the individual is entitled to have access;
(b) in compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual, if upon disclosure notification thereof is mailed to the last known address of the individual to whom the information relates;
(c) personal information collected and maintained specifically for the purpose of creating a record available to the general public;
(d) under an Act of Ontario or Canada that expressly authorizes the disclosure;
(e) for a research purpose if,
(i) the disclosure is consistent with the conditions or reasonable expectations of disclosure under which the personal information was provided, collected or obtained,
(ii) the research purpose for which the disclosure is to be made cannot be reasonably accomplished unless the information is provided in individually identifiable form, and
(iii) the person who is to receive the record has agreed to comply with the conditions relating to security and confidentiality prescribed by the regulations; or
(f) if the disclosure does not constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, s. 21 (1).
(2) A head, in determining whether a disclosure of personal information constitutes an unjustified invasion of personal privacy, shall consider all the relevant circumstances, including whether,
(a) the disclosure is desirable for the purpose of subjecting the activities of the Government of Ontario and its agencies to public scrutiny;
(b) access to the personal information may promote public health and safety;
(c) access to the personal information will promote informed choice in the purchase of goods and services;
(d) the personal information is relevant to a fair determination of rights affecting the person who made the request;
(e) the individual to whom the information relates will be exposed unfairly to pecuniary or other harm;
(f) the personal information is highly sensitive;
(g) the personal information is unlikely to be accurate or reliable;
(h) the personal information has been supplied by the individual to whom the information relates in confidence; and
(i) the disclosure may unfairly damage the reputation of any person referred to in the record. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, s. 21 (2).
(3) A disclosure of personal information is presumed to constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy where the personal information,
(a) relates to a medical, psychiatric or psychological history, diagnosis, condition, treatment or evaluation;
(b) was compiled and is identifiable as part of an investigation into a possible violation of law, except to the extent that disclosure is necessary to prosecute the violation or to continue the investigation;
(c) relates to eligibility for social service or welfare benefits or to the determination of benefit levels;
(d) relates to employment or educational history;
(e) was obtained on a tax return or gathered for the purpose of collecting a tax;
(f) describes an individual’s finances, income, assets, liabilities, net worth, bank balances, financial history or activities, or creditworthiness;
(g) consists of personal recommendations or evaluations, character references or personnel evaluations; or
(h) indicates the individual’s racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or religious or political beliefs or associations. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, s. 21 (3).

[3]

TSL-73760-16-IN2 & TST-74210-16-IN2 (Re), 2017 CanLII 28587 (ON LTB)[4]

1. At the outset of the third day of hearing the Landlord raised a preliminary issue. It stated that the Tenant has placed a copy of an audio recording of the hearing on the internet. The Landlord submits that the Tenant’s conduct is not only inappropriate, but in direct violation of my previous oral direction, dispute resolution officers’ cautions and previous Board members’ orders. The Landlord notes that there are three previous orders that speak to this issue; TST-56836-14 & TST-61644-16_IN[1], TST-56836-14 & TST-61644-16-RV, and TST-56836-14 & TST-61644-16.

2. The Landlord argues that the previous orders make it clear that the Tenant is not permitted to publish a hearing recording on social media. The Landlord notes that in TST-56836-14 & TST-61644-16-RV, Vice Chair Sangmuah reasoned as follows:

If the portion of the hearing posted on YouTube was made available to the Tenant pursuant to Rule 25.2, which I do not find, it was for the purpose of facilitating preparation for further proceedings, including a review or appeal. Board recordings are made available to parties, not the general public. Thus, the Tenant required the express consent of the Board to make the recording available on social media.

15. Due to the Tenant’s abuse of the Board’s process, the Board will refuse to hear the Tenant’s application (TST-74210-16) until such time as he removes any and all audio recordings of Board hearings from the internet. This means that the Tenant will need to remove those recordings from websites such as YouTube. The Tenant is directed to remove the audio recordings on or before March 24, 2017.

[4]

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (S.C. 2000, c. 5)[5]

2 (1) The definitions in this subsection apply in this Part.

...
personal information means information about an identifiable individual. (renseignement personnel)
...
record includes any correspondence, memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work, photograph, film, microform, sound recording, videotape, machine-readable record and any other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, and any copy of any of those things. (document)
...

4 (1) This Part applies to every organization in respect of personal information that

(a) the organization collects, uses or discloses in the course of commercial activities; or
(b) is about an employee of, or an applicant for employment with, the organization and that the organization collects, uses or discloses in connection with the operation of a federal work, undertaking or business.
(2) This Part does not apply to
(a) any government institution to which the Privacy Act applies;
(b) any individual in respect of personal information that the individual collects, uses or discloses for personal or domestic purposes and does not collect, use or disclose for any other purpose; or
(c) any organization in respect of personal information that the organization collects, uses or discloses for journalistic, artistic or literary purposes and does not collect, use or disclose for any other purpose.
(3) Every provision of this Part applies despite any provision, enacted after this subsection comes into force, of any other Act of Parliament, unless the other Act expressly declares that that provision operates despite the provision of this Part.
...

7 (1) For the purpose of clause 4.3 of Schedule 1, and despite the note that accompanies that clause, an organization may collect personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual only if

(a) the collection is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way;
(b) it is reasonable to expect that the collection with the knowledge or consent of the individual would compromise the availability or the accuracy of the information and the collection is reasonable for purposes related to investigating a breach of an agreement or a contravention of the laws of Canada or a province;
...
(d) the information is publicly available and is specified by the regulations; or
(e) the collection is made for the purpose of making a disclosure
(i) under subparagraph (3)(c.1)(i) or (d)(ii), or
(ii) that is required by law
...
(2) For the purpose of clause 4.3 of Schedule 1, and despite the note that accompanies that clause, an organization may, without the knowledge or consent of the individual, use personal information only if
...
(c.1) it is publicly available and is specified by the regulations; or
(d) it was collected under paragraph (1)(a), (b) or (e).
...
(3) For the purpose of clause 4.3 of Schedule 1, and despite the note that accompanies that clause, an organization may disclose personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual only if the disclosure is
...
(b) for the purpose of collecting a debt owed by the individual to the organization;
...
(h.1) of information that is publicly available and is specified by the regulations; or
(i) required by law.


[5]

Regulations Specifying Publicly Available Information (SOR/2001-7)

1 The following information and classes of information are specified for the purposes of paragraphs 7(1)(d), (2)(c.1) and (3)(h.1) of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act:

(a) personal information consisting of the name, address and telephone number of a subscriber that appears in a telephone directory that is available to the public, where the subscriber can refuse to have the personal information appear in the directory;
(b) personal information including the name, title, address and telephone number of an individual that appears in a professional or business directory, listing or notice, that is available to the public, where the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information relate directly to the purpose for which the information appears in the directory, listing or notice;
(c) personal information that appears in a registry collected under a statutory authority and to which a right of public access is authorized by law, where the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information relate directly to the purpose for which the information appears in the registry;
(d) personal information that appears in a record or document of a judicial or quasi-judicial body, that is available to the public, where the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information relate directly to the purpose for which the information appears in the record or document; and
(e) personal information that appears in a publication, including a magazine, book or newspaper, in printed or electronic form, that is available to the public, where the individual has provided the information.

[6]

Privacy Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21)

7 Personal information under the control of a government institution shall not, without the consent of the individual to whom it relates, be used by the institution except

(a) for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the institution or for a use consistent with that purpose; or
(b) for a purpose for which the information may be disclosed to the institution under subsection 8(2).

8 (1) Personal information under the control of a government institution shall not, without the consent of the individual to whom it relates, be disclosed by the institution except in accordance with this section.

(2) Subject to any other Act of Parliament, personal information under the control of a government institution may be disclosed
...
(l) to any government institution for the purpose of locating an individual in order to collect a debt owing to Her Majesty in right of Canada by that individual or make a payment owing to that individual by Her Majesty in right of Canada; and
(m) for any purpose where, in the opinion of the head of the institution,
(i) the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure, or
(ii) disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates.

12 (1) Subject to this Act, every individual who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act has a right to and shall, on request, be given access to

(a) any personal information about the individual contained in a personal information bank; and
(b) any other personal information about the individual under the control of a government institution with respect to which the individual is able to provide sufficiently specific information on the location of the information as to render it reasonably retrievable by the government institution.
(3) The Governor in Council may, by order, extend the right to be given access to personal information under subsection (1) to include individuals not referred to in that subsection and may set such conditions as the Governor in Council deems appropriate.
...

19 (1) Subject to subsection (2), the head of a government institution shall refuse to disclose any personal information requested under subsection 12(1) that was obtained in confidence from

(a) the government of a foreign state or an institution thereof;
(b) an international organization of states or an institution thereof;
(c) the government of a province or an institution thereof;
(d) a municipal or regional government established by or pursuant to an Act of the legislature of a province or an institution of such a government;
(e) the council, as defined in the Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement given effect by the Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act; or
(f) the council of a participating First Nation as defined in subsection 2(1) of the First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act.
(2) The head of a government institution may disclose any personal information requested under subsection 12(1) that was obtained from any government, organization or institution described in subsection (1) if the government, organization or institution from which the information was obtained
(a) consents to the disclosure; or
(b) makes the information public.
...

69 (1) This Act does not apply to

(a) library or museum material preserved solely for public reference or exhibition purposes; or
(b) material placed in the Library and Archives of Canada, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Museum of Science and Technology, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights or the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 by or on behalf of persons or organizations other than government institutions.
(2) Sections 7 and 8 do not apply to personal information that is publicly available.


[7]

Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43[8]

137 (1) On payment of the prescribed fee, a person is entitled to see any document filed in a civil proceeding in a court, unless an Act or an order of the court provides otherwise.

(2) A court may order that any document filed in a civil proceeding before it be treated as confidential, sealed and not form part of the public record.
(3) On payment of the prescribed fee, a person is entitled to see any list maintained by a court of civil proceedings commenced or judgments entered.
(4) On payment of the prescribed fee, a person is entitled to a copy of any document the person is entitled to see. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, s. 137.


[8]

References

  1. Tribunal Adjudicative Records Act, 2019, S.O. 2019, c. 7, Sched. 60 https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/19t07
  2. 2.0 2.1 Toronto Star v. AG Ontario, 2018 ONSC 2586 (CanLII), <https://canlii.ca/t/hrq6s>, retrieved on 2021-05-20
  3. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, <https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90f31>, retrieved 2021-05-20
  4. 4.0 4.1 TSL-73760-16-IN2 & TST-74210-16-IN2 (Re), 2017 CanLII 28587 (ON LTB), <http://canlii.ca/t/h3qx2>, retrieved on 2020-06-23
  5. 5.0 5.1 Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (S.C. 2000, c. 5), <https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/P-8.6/FullText.html>, retrieved on 2021-06-18
  6. Regulations Specifying Publicly Available Information (SOR/2001-7), <https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2001-7/FullText.html>, retrieved on 2021-06-18
  7. Privacy Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21), <https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/P-21/page-4.html#h-397443>, retrieved on 2021-06-18
  8. 8.0 8.1 Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, <https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90c43#BK184>, reterived on 2021-06-18