Amendments to LA FOIP and Police Services

January 5, 2018 - Danielle Malach, Analyst

As of January 1, 2018, Saskatchewan police services, regional police services or boards, as defined in The Police Act, 1990, will be subject to The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (LA FOIP).  Below I will highlight the amendments to LA FOIP that apply to police services, regional police services and boards and briefly explain what these amendments mean.

Subsection 2(f)(viii.1) LA FOIP has been added to the list of definitions of a “local authority” to include police services and regional police services as follows:

2 In this Act:

(f) “local authority” means:

(viii.1) a police service or regional police service as defined in The Police Service Act, 1990.

Additionally, subsection 2(2) of The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Regulations (LA FOIP Regulations) has been added to include a board, as defined in The Police Act, 1990, as a local authority pursuant to LA FOIP as follows:

2(2) For the purposes of subclause 2(f)(iv) of the Act, ‘committee of a council’ includes a board as defined in The Police Act, 1990.

These amendments to LA FOIP and the LA FOIP Regulations afford individuals with access and privacy rights.  This includes the ability to submit access to information requests for records under the possession or control of the police service, regional police service or board, and have the right to submit a request for review to our office if they are dissatisfied with the response.  As well, individuals will have the right to submit a privacy breach complaint to the police service, regional police service or board if they have concerns about the collection, use, and/or disclosure of their personal information and have the ability to request our office conduct an investigation if they are dissatisfied with the response to their privacy concern.

While individuals have the right to request access to any records in the possession or control of the police service, regional police service or board, LA FOIP provides mandatory and discretionary exemptions that may apply to the requested records.  Although it will be up to the police force to decide which exemptions they might claim, some of the more common exemptions may include:

Law enforcement and investigations

14(1) A head may refuse to give access to a record, the release of which could:

(f) disclose the identity of a confidential source of information or disclose information furnished by that source with respect to a lawful investigation or a law enforcement matter;

(k) interfere with a law enforcement matter or disclose information respecting a law enforcement matter;

(k.1) endanger the life or physical safety of a law enforcement officer or any other person;

(k.3) reveal a record that has been seized by a law enforcement officer in accordance with an Act or Act of Parliament.

Additionally, subsections 8.1(e) and (f) of the LA FOIP Regulations further provide:

8.1 For the purposes of clause 22(3)(a.1) of the Act, the following are prescribed as provisions to which subsection 22(1) of the Act does not apply:

(e) subsections 39(5) and (6) and subsection 56(9.2) of The Police Act, 1990;

(f) Part IV of The Police Act, 1990 as it relates to a complaint concerning the actions of a member.

Subsection 22(1) of LA FOIP provides as follows:

22(1) Where a provision of:

(a) any other Act;

(b) a regulation made pursuant to any other Act; or

(c) a resolution or bylaw;

that restricts or prohibits access by any person to a record or information in the possession or under the control of a local authority conflicts with this Act or the regulations made pursuant to it, the provisions of this Act and the regulations made pursuant to it shall prevail.

This means the provisions of LA FOIP and the LA FOIP Regulations would not prevail over the sections of The Police Act, 1990 referred to above.

Note that in some areas, Saskatchewan’s police services are provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) instead of municipal police forces and are not under our office’s jurisdiction. For information on your access and privacy rights involving the RCMP, please contact the RCMP Access and Privacy Branch or contact the Information Commissioner of Canada or the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

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