IPC - Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario | What's New http://www.ipc.on.ca en-us Police record checks under scrutiny in Ontario http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=333 <P>Acting Commissioner Brian Beamish was <A href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/police-record-checks-under-scrutiny-in-ontario-1.2726935" target=_blank>interviewed by the CBC </A>regarding the disclosure of non-conviction information through police record checks and the recent revisions by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police to their voluntary LEARN Guideline for Police Record Checks which aims to limit the practice. Mr. Beamish called it a step in the right direction and would further like to see the reporting of non-conviction information eliminated from police records altogether. He further adds that there is a need to have some kind of provincial standard that police forces can guide their actions by – such as the force of law.</P> <P><A href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/police-record-checks-under-scrutiny-in-ontario-1.2726935" target=_blank>Read the full story.</A></P> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT OACP Update Guidelines for Police Record Checks http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=331 <P>Recently the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) updated their <A href="http://www.oacp.on.ca/news-events/resource-documents/learn-guidelines-police-reference-checks">LEARN Guideline for Police Record Checks</A>. We applaud the OACP for taking this important step, which has the potential to have a positive effect on the lives of thousands of law-abiding Ontarians. </P> <P>While the guidelines are voluntary, this is an important step to ensuring a proper and consistent approach to how information is disclosed when police record checks are conducted. We strongly encourage all of Ontario’s 57 police forces to adopt the OACP’s guidance on limiting the disclosure of non-conviction and non-criminal records to a limited class of exceptional circumstances. </P> <P>Similar to the recommendations of our recent <A href="http://www.ipc.on.ca/English/Resources/Reports-And-Submissions/Reports-And-Submissions-Summary/?id=1391">Crossing the Line</A> investigation into the disclosure of attempted suicide to US boarder officials through the CPIC database, the OACP recommends police forces to keep mental health police contacts confidential unless exceptional circumstances are present. </P> <P>The position of the IPC has long been that non-conviction and non-criminal information should only be disclosed during the course of a police records check only in exceptional circumstances, consistent with focused, objective public safety-related criteria. </P> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Police Encounters with People in Crisis http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=332 <P>Retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci is to be congratulated for the care and attention he has given to the vital issues associated with lethal encounters between police and people in crisis <A href="http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/publications/files/reports/police_encounters_with_people_in_crisis_2014.pdf">in his recent report and its innovative recommendations</A>. Toronto Police Service Chief William Blair should also be commended for committing to act on the recommendations and not let it gather dust. </P> <P>Privacy is an important theme that runs throughout the report, especially as it relates to personal health information and the use of body warn cameras by police. The IPC is committed to giving these issues the attention they deserve and working collaboratively with the Toronto Police Service to improve outcomes for people in crisis. Recently, Acting Commissioner Brian Beamish <A href="http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/sammyyatim/2014/07/26/innovative_recommendations_for_toronto_police_dealing_with_the_mentally_ill.html">provided his thoughts to the Toronto Star</A>.</P> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Six recruiting tips for Canadian small business owners http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=329 <P><STRONG><A href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-managing/human-resources/recruiting-in-the-age-of-social-media-best-practices-for-canadian-small-businesses/article19812302/" target=_blank>Six recruiting tips for Canadian small business owners</A></STRONG><BR> David Goodis And Jessa Chupik<BR> Contributed to The Globe and Mail<BR> July 29, 2104</P> <P><A href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-managing/human-resources/nine-tips-for-using-social-media-to-make-the-right-hire/article19000449/" target=_blank>A recent article</A> in the <EM>Globe and Mail</EM> provided an American perspective on how small businesses can use social media to supplement a candidate’s job application. The article’s recommendations include browsing the candidate’s online photos, evaluating the candidate’s online content for proper grammar and spelling, and examining their Facebook friends.</P> <P>While tempting, engaging in these practices may expose a business to significant legal risks. Obtaining a candidate’s personal information, without consent, may be a violation of Canadian privacy laws, even if the information is publicly available online.</P> <P>Small business owners or employees performing these searches also run the risk of collecting information about the wrong person. In addition to potentially breaching privacy laws, this may lead small business owners or entrepreneurs to make decisions about candidates based on erroneous information.</P> <P>Invariably, when searching social media, recruiters will obtain information about people other than the candidate, such as their Facebook friends, increasing the risk of a privacy law breach.</P> <P>Human rights laws may also be violated, particularly where it can be shown that an online search revealed information such as a candidate’s race, religion or sexual orientation.</P> <P>To assist small business owners, we have developed a list of best practices that can be used when recruiting in Canada:</P> <P><STRONG>1.</STRONG> <STRONG>Be transparent.</STRONG> If you’re considering performing a social media search, tell the candidate up front about the specific types of searches you wish to conduct.</P> <P><STRONG>2.</STRONG> <STRONG>Get consent.</STRONG> Ask the candidate for written consent to search their public profiles. This consent can even be requested on the job application form. Avoid conducting a reconnaissance search for photos or usernames without written consent.</P> <P><STRONG>3.</STRONG> <STRONG>Verify results.</STRONG> Ask the candidate to verify or explain any damaging results that you find.</P> <P><STRONG>4.</STRONG> <STRONG>Limit collection.</STRONG> Reserve searches for your shortlist candidates, rather than conducting searches on the initial pool of applicants.</P> <P><STRONG>5.</STRONG> <STRONG>Consider alternatives</STRONG>:<BR> &#183; Speak to the candidate: Ask them if there is anything that your business should be aware of prior to proceeding with the recruitment process.<BR> &#183; Reference checks: Ask the candidate for a comprehensive list of referees with official titles, company email addresses and office phone numbers. You can also ask the candidate for consent to contact individuals other than those included in their list of referees. Reference calls, when done strategically, will allow you to verify information provided by the candidate during the recruitment process.<BR> &#183; Be creative: Instead of using social media to evaluate whether a candidate is a team player, consider including a networking breakfast, for example, in your recruitment process. Develop an evaluation tool to assess how the candidate interacted with the team members and clients in attendance. This real life test provides a more informative indication of social skills than information you can glean online.</P> <P><STRONG>6.</STRONG> <STRONG>Ask for help.</STRONG> Consult your province’s or territory’s privacy commissioner’s office for guidance. Most offices provide educational workshops and helpful privacy-protective best practices for hiring that are specific to the legislation in your province or territory.</P> <P><EM>David Goodis is the director of Legal Services and General Counsel for the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Jessa Chupik is the strategic lead, recruitment and employment equity, at Ryerson University.</EM></P> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=328 Today, Hon. Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier of Ontario, and President of the Treasury Board reintroduced legislation to make the Ontario government more open, accountable, transparent and accessible. <EM>Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 </EM>is partly based on recommendations from the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s report <EM>Deleting Accountability: Records Management Practices of Political Staff </EM>which was released in June of 2013. Since that time, the IPC has worked closely with the Minister of Government Services to bring forward the proposed amendments to the <EM>Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act </EM>and the <EM>Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act </EM>that are contained within this legislation. If passed, this bill will greatly improve government record retention and protect important records from wilful destruction. Tue, 08 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Brian Beamish Appointed Acting Commissioner http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=323 <TABLE cellSpacing=5 cellPadding=5 width="100%" align=center border=0> <TBODY> <TR> <TD vAlign=top><IMG alt="Interim Commissioner Brian Beamish" vspace=5 src="/site_images/BrianBeamish_website.jpg"><BR> <STRONG>Brian Beamish<BR> </STRONG><STRONG>Acting&nbsp;Commissioner<BR> </STRONG></TD> <TD vAlign=top> <DIV align=justify>The Office of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario has appointed <A href="http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/About-The-Commissioner/">Brian Beamish</A>&nbsp;as Acting Commissioner for the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC). This appointment, which began July 1, 2014, will be in place until a new Commissioner has been selected by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario or until December 31, 2014. Previously, Brian had served as the IPC’s Assistant Commissioner since 2005 and has been with the office since 1999.</DIV> </TD> </TR> </TBODY> </TABLE> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Ann Cavoukian and Christopher Wolf: Sorry, but there’s no online ‘right to be forgotten’ http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=322 This morning's <a href="http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/06/25/ann-cavoukian-and-christopher-wolf-sorry-but-theres-no-online-right-to-be-forgotten/" target="_blank">National Post</a> features an op-ed written by Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian and the founder and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum think tank Christopher Wolf commenting if a recent European Court of Justice judgement requiring Internet search providers to remove links to embarrassing information should also be applied to Canadian Citizens.  The full article is below: <br> <br> <blockquote>A man walks into a library. He asks to see the librarian. He tells the librarian there is a book on the shelves of the library that contains truthful, historical information about his past conduct, but he says he is a changed man now and the book is no longer relevant. He insists that any reference in the library’s card catalog and electronic indexing system associating him with the book be removed, or he will go to the authorities. <br> <br> The librarian refuses, explaining that the library does not make judgments on people, but simply offers information to readers to direct them to materials from which they can make their own judgment in the so-called “marketplace of ideas.” The librarian goes on to explain that if the library had to respond to such requests, it would become a censorship body — essentially the arbiter of what information should remain accessible to the public. Moreover, if it had to respond to every such request, the burden would be enormous and there would be no easy way to determine whether a request was legitimate or not. The indexing system would become swiss cheese, with gaps and holes. And, most importantly, readers would be deprived of access to historical information that would allow them to reach their own conclusions about people and events. <br> <br> The librarian gives this example: What if someone is running for office but wants to hide something from his unsavory past by blocking access to the easiest way for voters to uncover those facts? Voters would be denied relevant information, and democracy would be impaired. <br> <br> The man is not convinced, and calls a government agent. The government agent threatens to fine or jail the librarian if he does not comply with the man’s request to remove the reference to the unflattering book in the library’s indexing system. <br> <br> Is this a scenario out of George Orwell’s <em>Nineteen Eighty-Four</em>? No, this is the logical extension of a recent ruling from Europe’s highest court, which ordered Google to remove a link to truthful information about a person, because that person found the information unflattering and out of date. (The scale of online indexing would of course be dramatically more comprehensive than a library indexing system.) <br> <br> The European Court of Justice ruled that Google has a legal obligation to remove, from a search result of an individual’s name, a link to a newspaper containing a truthful, factual account of the individual’s financial troubles years ago. The individual, a Spanish citizen, had requested that Google remove the newspaper link because the information it contained was “now entirely irrelevant.” This concept has been described as the “right to be forgotten.” While one may have sympathy for the Spanish man who claimed he had rehabilitated his credit and preferred that his previous setback be forgotten, the rule of law that the highest European Court has established could open the door to unintended consequences such as censorship and threats to freedom of expression. <br> <br> The European Court relied on the fundamental rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, without so much as citing, much less analyzing, one of the other fundamental rights contained in the Charter, namely the right to free expression. <br> <br> Moreover, the Court did not provide sufficient instruction on how the “right to be forgotten” should be applied. When do truthful facts become “outdated” such that they should be suppressed on the Internet? Do online actors other than search engines have a duty to “scrub” the Internet of unflattering yet truthful facts? The Court didn’t say. The European Court of Justice has mandated that the Googles of the world serve as judge and jury of what legal information is in the public interest, and what information needs to be suppressed because the facts are now dated and the subject is a private person. Under penalty of fines and possibly jail time, online companies may err on the side of deleting links to information, with free expression suffering in the process. <br> <br> The European Court’s own Advocate General argued that a right to be forgotten “would entail sacrificing pivotal rights such as freedom of expression and information” and would suppress “legitimate and legal information that has entered the public sphere.” Further, the Advocate General argued, this would amount to “censuring” published content. In the First Amendment parlance of the U.S. Supreme Court, the European Court’s decision may amount to “burning the house to roast the pig.” <br> <br> You might think this problem is limited to Europe, and that the search results in North America will remain unaffected by the Court’s ruling. But earlier European efforts to cleanse the Internet (in the context of hate speech) suggested that even materials on North American domains would be subject to European law. <br> <br> As privacy advocates, we strongly support rights to protect an individual’s reputation and to guard against illegal and abusive behaviour. If you post something online about yourself, you should have the right to remove it or take it somewhere else. If someone else posts <em>illegal defamatory</em> content about you, as a general rule, you have a legal right to have it removed. But while personal control is essential to privacy, empowering individuals to demand the removal of links to unflattering, but accurate, information arguably goes far beyond protecting privacy. Other solutions should be explored to address the very real problem posed by the permanence of online data. <br> <br> The recent extreme application of privacy rights in such a vague, shotgun manner threatens free expression on the Internet. We cannot allow the right to privacy to be converted into the right to censor.</blockquote> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Canadian Journalists for Free Expression supports watchdog's recommendations for access to information reform in Ontario http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=321 Ominous surveillance policies and routine denial of access to government-held information are among the most important emerging political issues in Canada. <br> <br> In this context, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) warmly welcomes the call by outgoing Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian for sweeping changes to the province's freedom-of-information laws. <br> <br> Cavoukian's <a href="http://annualreport.ipc.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ar-2013-e.pdf" target="_blank">final annual report</a> amounts to a direct challenge to newly re-elected Premier Kathleen Wynne, said Peter Jacobsen, Chair of CJFE's Canadian Issues Committee. CJFE calls on the provincial government to: <ul> <li>use its new legislative majority to strengthen access to public records, on which free expression and effective democracy depend;</li> <li>make it an offence, with tough consequences, to destroy public records such as emails between public servants; and</li> <li>protect Ontarians from the chilling effects of government surveillance, which diminish free expression rights when left unchecked.</li> </ul> "Ann Cavoukian has capped her years of service with a resounding call for better access to provincial and municipal records," Jacobsen said. "Now it's up to Wynne and her government to make it easier for people to find out what their governments are doing and hold them to account." <br> <br> Cavoukian, ending her third term as Commissioner, also called on all Canadians to demand better answers from Ottawa about the extent of electronic surveillance by federal agencies. <br> <br> Many of her suggestions underscore the grave weaknesses that CJFE has highlighted in its annual <a href="https://cjfe.org/programs/free-expression-review" target="_blank">Review of Free Expression in Canada</a>. CJFE believes true free expression depends on broad access to information and knowledge that is collected and developed at public expense, as well as freedom from chill-inducing surveillance. <br> <br> Noting last year's unanimous call by federal, provincial and territorial commissioners for updating of privacy and access laws, Cavoukian said Ontario's 20-year-old freedom-of-information (FOI) regime urgently needs review and reform. <br> <br> Among her recommendations: <ul> <li>Require public officials to keep an accurate record of their activities and make it an offence to destroy or alter records that might be subject to FOI laws. (Her office uncovered widespread deletion of e-mails relating to the controversial cancellation of gas-fired electricity plants.)</li> <li>Require governments to routinely disclose public contracts instead of routinely withholding them, which triggers expensive FOI applications and appeals.</li> <li>Expand the coverage of FOI laws to include municipal councillors' constituency records as well as their work on official council business.</li> </ul> Cavoukian took aim at the growing penchant of government officials to attempt to justify withholding information about current events from the news media and the public by citing privacy legislation. Too often this amounts to a "convenient diversion for inaction," she said. She also renewed her call for an independent agency to supervise and review government access to Canadians' personal digital information. <br> <br> Pointing to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations about the global reach of government surveillance, Cavoukian said: "We all face significant risks associated with unchecked state power. I ask every Canadian to keep the pressure on our leaders for some answers." <br> <br> CJFE will respond to Cavoukian's challenge by redoubling its efforts to broaden Canadians' right of access to information collected by the governments they elect, and work to stop unwarranted snooping by agencies such as the Communications Security Establishment Canada. <br> <br> "Ann Cavoukian is one of Canada's most energetic promoters of access to information and protection of privacy," said Jacobsen. "We're determined to push for the reforms she suggests, and confront other challenges to Canadians' freedom of expression wherever they arise." Mon, 23 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Ontario's doctors support action taken by Ontario Privacy Commissioner http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=320 The OMA supports recent action taken by Ontario Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian to prevent the indiscriminate disclosure of attempted suicide information by the Toronto Police Service (TPS). <br> <br> Mental health information is extremely sensitive in nature; widespread access to this information by the police and other authorities in the absence of a real and pressing threat to public safety may subject individuals to discrimination and stigmatize them further without cause. Ontario's doctors believe that safeguarding patient personal health information is of the utmost importance. All threats of suicide or suicide attempts are not indicative of future harm to others and discretion should be exercised appropriately before entering this data into the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). Although maintaining public safety is rightfully a prime objective for law enforcement, this must be balanced against the legal protection afforded to individuals by privacy legislation. <br> <br> Dr. Ved Tandan <br> President <br> Ontario Medical Association Wed, 18 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Corporate Knights Presents Its 2014 Award of Distinction to Dr. Ann Cavoukian http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/About-Us/Whats-New/Whats-New-Summary/?id=318 <P>Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian is the 2014 recipient of the <A href="http://www.corporateknights.com/article/ann-cavoukian" target=_blank><EM>Corporate Knights’ </EM>annual Award of Distinction</A>, which recognizes leaders in Canadian society who have had a catalytic impact on advancing a more positive relationship between business, government and sustainable development. The magazine is commending the Commissioner’s legacy of work as champion in access to public information and innovator in the field of privacy protection:</P> <P> <BLOCKQUOTE><EM>Cavoukian, who has spent three terms and 15 years as commissioner, isn’t known for backing down when the fight is in the public interest, whether that means protecting the personal privacy of citizens or assuring access to information that’s crucial to holding governments accountable. It’s why Corporate Knights selected Cavoukian for its <A href="http://www.corporateknights.com/article/corporate-knights-present-its-2014-award-distinction-information-access-and-privacy-crusader" target=_blank>2014 Award of Distinction</A>, an honour bestowed in previous years on former prime minister Paul Martin and former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams, among others. The award recognizes leaders in Canadian society who have had a “catalytic impact” on advancing a more positive relationship between business, government and sustainable development.</EM></BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Dr. Cavoukian will be presented her award this evening at Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Gala Dinner at Toronto’s Casa Loma.</P> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT