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Decisions

The OIPC issues and is subject to a variety of decisions. The following list provides a brief explanation of the types of decisions.

  • Orders: An inquiry may be conducted if a matter cannot be settled through mediation or investigation under all three Acts. A formal, binding order is made at the conclusion of an inquiry.

    The legislated authority for conducting an inquiry exists under section 69(1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP Act), section 77(1) of the Health Information Act (HIA) and section 50(1) of the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). Section 72(1) of the FOIP Act, section 80(1) of the HIA and section 52(1) of PIPA then provides the authority for the Commissioner to issue a formal order. 

    Commissioner's Orders are listed by year and are posted shortly after they are issued to the applicants and respondents.
  • Investigation Reports: Under the FOIP Act, HIA and PIPA, the Commissioner has the power to conduct investigations to ensure compliance with the legislation. Under the FOIP Act and HIA, the Commissioner may also conduct investigations to ensure compliance with rules relating to the destruction of records. The results of these investigations and recommendations are included in investigation reports.

  • Breach Notification Decisions: In 2010, Alberta became the first jurisdiction in Canada to require breach notification from private sector organizations where there exists "a real risk of significant harm" to an individual as a result of the loss or unauthorized access to or disclosure of personal information.

    The Commissioner publicly makes available the decisions where a real risk of significant harm was identified and notification to affected individuals was required.

  • Judicial Reviews: An application for judicial review of a Commissioner's order must be made not later than 45 days after the person making the application receives a copy of the order. The application for judicial review is made to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta.
  • External Adjudication Orders: Section 75 of the FOIP Act and section 96 of the HIA allow for an external adjudicator to be appointed to rule in place of the Commissioner. For example, to investigate complaints made against the Commissioner or when the Commissioner identifies a conflict with respect to a public body or health custodian.
  • Case Summaries: Case summaries were completed for select cases under PIPA that the OIPC determined to have educational value. Many complaints received by the OIPC are resolved without the need for an inquiry. In these cases, a wide variety of issues are researched and investigated, and the findings may provide guidance in the interpretation of the legislation. Summaries provided examples of how the legislation is applied to complaints about various issues.
  • Other Decisions: 

    • A "Decision" is a direction issued by the Commissioner during an inquiry that does not usually conclude the inquiry. The type of decision that typically concludes an inquiry is called an "Order".
    • A "Section 55 Decision" is made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and provides the Commissioner with the power to authorize a public body to disregard access requests.
    • A "Section 70 Decision" is made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and provides the Commissioner with the ability to refuse to conduct an inquiry.
    • A "Section 37 Decision" is made under the Personal Information Protection Act and provides the Commissioner with the power to authorize an organization to disregard access requests.
    • An "Advance Ruling" is made under the Personal Information Protection Act (section 36(3)) where the Commissioner may, on request, give advance rulings in respect of any matters that are or could potentially be the subject of an investigation.

Although we make every effort to ensure that all information posted on our website is accurate and complete, we cannot guarantee its integrity. If there is any discrepancy between the information posted on our website and the original paper versions, the original paper document is authoritative.