Data met definition of “personal information” but fell under one of enumerated exceptions

Ontario civil | Administrative Law


Data met definition of “personal information” but fell under one of enumerated exceptions

City received access to information request for disclosure of every invoice submitted for reimbursement by particular municipal employee for use of paid toll highway. City agreed to partial disclosure, redacting entry and exit points on highway as well as times of entry and exit. Requester appealed decision to withhold information to Information and Privacy Commissioner. Commissioner ordered city to release withheld information. Commissioner agreed that withheld data met definition of “personal information” but found that it fell under one of enumerated exceptions, namely benefits received by employee in addition to base salary. Commissioner rejected city’s argument that information could reveal employee’s whereabouts and should remain redacted for safety reasons. City’s argument that individual’s whereabouts not “benefit” under s. 14(4)(a) of Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Can.), also dismissed. City’s application for judicial review dismissed. Existing jurisprudence indicated standard of reasonableness applied to commissioner’s decision. Reasonableness concerned mostly with existence of justification, transparency and intelligibility within decision-making process but also whether decision falls within range of possible, acceptable outcomes. Commissioner’s decision respected ordinary meaning of word “benefit” in Act, consistent with principles of statutory interpretation and evidenced transparency and intelligibility in decision-making process. Commissioner’s decision upheld.

Vaughan (City) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner)
(Dec. 6, 2011, Ont. S.C.J. (Div. Ct.), Cunningham A.C.J.S.C., Pardu and Mulligan JJ., File No. 341/10) 211 A.C.W.S. (3d) 458 (16 pp.).

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