De-identified Decisions

July 28, 2016 - Dale Beck, Director, Office of Residential Tenancies

The Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) recently began posting its decisions to CanLII. You can find them here.

There is an understandable interest among landlords in the names of tenants who have a history with the ORT, particularly those evicted repeatedly for non-payment of rent. As a result of media coverage, some individual tenants are well-known to landlords. Publishing decisions with their initials would not necessarily protect their personal information. Moreover, there is potential for confusion with someone who has the same initials.

To reduce the risk of identifying a person by publishing his or her initials, the ORT adopted a practice used by another administrative tribunal. Letters, other than first letters of the party’s names, are used to identify the party. There are at least a couple means of doing so. One is to use letters from the name other than the first letters. The letter chosen could be the 2nd, 3rd or 4th letter of each name (last letter if the name is spelt with fewer letters). A letter might be chosen from a different position in each of the first and last names. Alternatively, the letter could be a number of letters further up or down in the alphabet from the initial of the individual. The letters could even be randomly assigned.

The ORT recognizes that both landlords and tenants may have an interest in the history of potential landlords and potential tenants with the ORT. However that personal information should only be shared with the knowledge and consent of the individual to whom it pertains. Designating persons by letters other than the individual’s initials reduces the risk of compromising personal information without the person’s consent.

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