Access and Correction

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015 (ATIPPA, 2015) gives a person the right to request access to any record in the custody or control of a public body and grants an individual the right to request that a public body correct an error or omission contained in that individual’s personal information. If a person is not satisfied with the response of a public body to an access request for records or if an individual is not satisfied with the response to a request for correction, then a complaint may be made to the OIPC.

The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) allows individuals to request a health custodian to provide access to that individual’s own personal health information and to request a health custodian to make a correction to the individual’s personal health information that is inaccurate or incomplete. An individual who is not satisfied with the response of a health custodian to a request for access or correction may file a complaint with the OIPC.

The ATIPPA, 2015 allows a person who has made an access request to a public body or who has requested a public body to correct his or her personal information to file an access complaint to the OIPC regarding a decision made by the public body regarding the request. A complaint may be made where the person who made the request is not satisfied with the response of the public body to the request. An access complaint must be made in writing PDF document opens in new window PDF document (139 KB) and must be filed with the OIPC within 15 business days after the person has received the decision of the public body. (The OIPC may allow a longer period for filing a complaint in appropriate circumstances.)

Under the PHIA an individual who has been refused access to his or her personal health information by a custodian or has been refused a correction of his or her personal health information may file a complaint with the OIPC. The complaint must be made in writing PDF document opens in new window PDF document (358 KB) and made within 60 calendar days from the date the individual receives notice of the refusal from the custodian. (The OIPC may allow a longer period for filing a complaint in appropriate circumstances.)

There is no cost for filing a complaint under either of the Acts.

Investigation Process under the ATIPPA, 2015

The ATIPPA, 2015 allows a person who has made an access request to a public body or who has requested a public body to correct his or her personal information to file an access complaint PDF document opens in new window PDF document (139 KB) to the OIPC regarding a decision made by the public body regarding the request.

Once the OIPC has determined that the access complaint has merit and that the OIPC has authority to investigate the complaint, a copy of the access complaint will be sent to the public body to which the request was made. The OIPC will ask the public body for a response to the access complaint, requesting the public body to explain such things as why access to certain information was denied or what steps the public body took to locate missing records.

The OIPC will take any steps considered appropriate to informally resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the complainant and the public body. If both the complainant and the public body are satisfied with the informal resolution, then that is the end of the complaint process and the file will be closed.

If the complaint is not resolved within 20 business day, then the OIPC will conduct a formal investigation where there are reasonable grounds for doing so. The OIPC has authority to decide not to conduct a formal investigation under specified circumstances; for example, where the OIPC is satisfied that the public body has responded adequately to the complaint or that the access complaint could be more appropriately dealt with by another procedure or proceeding.

Following the formal investigation, the Commissioner will prepare a Report with their findings. The Commissioner may recommend that:

  1. the public body grant or refuse access to a record;
  2. the public body reconsider its decision to grant or refuse access;
  3. the public body make or not make the requested correction to personal information, or
  4. the public body make improvements to its access to information process.

The Report from the Commissioner must be made within 65 business days of receipt of the access complaint and upon completion must be sent to the complainant and the public body.

The public body is required to decide within 10 business days of receiving the Commissioner’s recommendation whether or not to comply with those recommendations and to give notice of the decision to the Commissioner and to the complainant. Where the recommendation of the Commissioner is that the public body grant access to a record or make the requested correction of personal information and the public body decides not to comply with that recommendation, then the public body is required to apply to the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador for a declaration that the public body is not required to comply with the recommendation.

A person who has made an access complaint is entitled to commence an appeal in the Trial Division where a public body refuses to comply with the Commissioner’s recommendation that the public body grant access or that the public body make the requested correction to personal information.

Third Party Information

As a Third Party you also have the right to complain PDF document opens in new window PDF document (139 KB) when a Public Body has indicated that they intend to release information about your business.

The Investigation process is the same and we would refer you to the discussion above, under “Public”.

There is particular guidance PDF document opens in new window PDF document (249 KB) for public bodies under ATIPPA, 2015 which may assist you in considering whether or not to file a complaint with the OIPC.

However, if after reviewing this, you still wish to file a complaint, please use this form PDF document opens in new window PDF document (139 KB).

Third Party Personal Information

As a person who has been notified of the intended release of your personal information, you may make a complaint PDF document opens in new window PDF document (139 KB) to the OIPC to investigate.

This complaint is made in using the same process and form as an access complaint.

Investigation Process under PHIA

Under the PHIA an individual who has been refused access to his or her personal health information by a custodian or has been refused a correction of his or her personal health information by a custodian may file a complaint PDF document opens in new window PDF document (358 KB) with the OIPC.

Once the OIPC has determined that the complaint has merit and that the OIPC has authority to investigate the complaint, a copy of the complaint will be sent to the health custodian involved. The OIPC will ask the custodian for a response to the complaint, requesting the custodian to explain such things as why access to certain information was denied or what steps the custodian took to locate missing records. If the complaint relates to a request for a correction of personal information, then the OIPC will ask the custodian to explain why the requested correction was not made.

The OIPC will take any steps considered appropriate to informally resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the complainant and the custodian. If both the complainant and the custodian are satisfied with the informal resolution, then that is the end of the complaint process and the file will be closed.

If the complaint is not resolved within 60 calendar days, then the OIPC will conduct a review of the subject matter of the complaint where there are reasonable grounds for doing so. The OIPC has authority to decide not to conduct a review under specified circumstances; for example, where the OIPC is satisfied that the custodian has responded adequately to the complaint or that the access complaint could be more appropriately dealt with by another procedure or proceeding.

The review must be conducted within 120 days of receiving the complaint and following the review the Commissioner is required to prepare a Report of their findings and recommendations. The Commissioner may, based on their findings, recommend that the custodian grant access to the requested records or recommend that the requested correction be made.

The Report with the findings and recommendations will be provided to the custodian and the person who made the complaint. The custodian against whom the complaint has been made is required to respond to the recommendations in the Report within 15 days of receiving the Report. The custodian’s response to the recommendations must be provided to the Commissioner and to the person who filed the complaint.

Where the custodian decides not to comply with the Commissioner’s recommendation to grant access or make the requested correction, the person who made the complaint to the OIPC may appeal that decision of the custodian to the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. The appeal must be filed in the Trial Division within 30 days of being notified by the custodian that it is not complying with the Commissioner’s decision.

A Guide to Accessing Information under the ATIPPA, 2015 PDF document opens in new window PDF document (201 KB)

Commissioner's Reports