This is an official version.
Copyright © 2000: Queens Printer,
Revised Statutes of Newfoundland 1990
AN ACT RESPECTING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
1. This Act may be cited as the Freedom of Information Act.
1981 c5 s1Back to Top
2. In this Act
(a) "department" means
(i) a department of the government of the province, or
(ii) a board, commission or other body listed in the Schedule;
(b) "head" means
(i) in the case of a department of the government of the province, the minister responsible for the administration of the department, and
(ii) in the case of a board, commission or other body listed in the Schedule, the head of it; and
(c) "information" means information in any form including information that is written, photographed, recorded or stored by other means and on file or in the possession or under the control of a department.
1981 c5 s2; 1990 c64 s2Back to Top
Purpose of Act
3. The purpose of this Act is to provide a right of access by the public to information in records of departments and to subject that right only to specific and limited exceptions necessary for the operation of the departments and for the protection of personal privacy.
1981 c5 s3Back to Top
Right to information
4. Every person who is
(a) a Canadian citizen, domiciled in the province;
(b) a permanent resident of Canada within the meaning of the Immigration Act, 1976 (Canada); or
(c) a corporation incorporated by or under a law of Canada or a province, and who is carrying on business in the province
has a right to and shall, on request, be permitted access to information under the control of a department.
1981 c5 s4Back to Top
Sources of information
5. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall publish a list of all departments and, in respect of each department, a list of the general class of information prepared by or under the control of the department.
1981 c5 s5Back to Top
Form of request
6. (1) A request for access to information under this Act shall be made in writing and shall be addressed to the head of the department in which the information is kept or filed.
(2) A request shall specify the subject matter of the information requested with sufficient particularity as to time, place and event to enable a person familiar with the subject matter to identify the information.
(3) Where information requested is unable to be identified the head shall so advise the person requesting and shall invite that person to supply additional details that might lead to identification of the information.
1981 c5 s6Back to Top
7. Within 30 days of the receipt of a request a head shall in writing grant, deny or under subsection 8(3) refer the request.
1981 c5 s7Back to Top
Where request granted
8. (1) Where a request for information is granted by a head or the Trial Division, the head shall
(a) upon payment of the prescribed fee, allow the information to be inspected, and upon payment of the prescribed cost of reproduction, allow the information to be reproduced in whole or in part;
(b) where the information requested is published, refer the person requesting to the publication; or
(c) where the information is to be published or is required to be published at a future date, inform the person requesting of that fact and the approximate date of the publishing.
(2) Where a portion of a document contains some information that is information to which a person is refused access and that portion is severable, that portion shall be deleted and the request with respect to the remaining portion of the document shall be granted.
(3) Where a head receives a request for information that is not kept or filed in the department in respect of which that person is the head, the head shall refer that request to the department in which the information may be kept or filed and in writing notify the person requesting of that fact.
(4) When information requested has been destroyed or does not exist, the head shall advise the applicant of that fact.
1981 c5 s8Back to Top
9. (1) Notwithstanding section 4, a person shall not be permitted access to information in records
(a) obtained in confidence under an agreement or arrangement between the government of the province and the Government of Canada or another province;
(b) that contain proposals or recommendations submitted, or prepared for submission, by a minister of the Crown to the Executive Council;
(c) that contain agendas of the Executive Council or recordings of deliberations or decisions of the Executive Council;
(d) used for or reflecting consultations among ministers of the Crown on matters relating to the making of government decisions or the formulation of government policy;
(e) that contain briefings to ministers of the Crown in relation to matters that are before, or are proposed to be brought before, the Executive Council or that are the subject of consultations referred to in paragraph (d);
(f) that contain background explanations, analyses of problems or policy options submitted, or prepared for submission, by a minister of the Crown to the Executive Council for consideration by the Executive Council in making decisions, before those decisions are made; and
(g) that are, subject to an Act of the province, required to be kept confidential.
(2) Paragraphs (1)(b) to (f) do not apply in respect of information where disclosure of the information is authorized by the Premier of the province.
1981 c5 s9Back to Top
10. (1) Notwithstanding section 4, a person shall not be permitted access to personal information respecting an identifiable individual including,
(a) information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age or marital status of the individual;
(b) information relating to the education or the medical, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved;
(c) an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual;
(d) the address, fingerprints or blood type of the individual;
(e) the personal opinions or views of the individual;
(f) correspondence sent to a department by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the content of the original correspondence; or
(g) the views or opinions of another person in respect of the individual.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the following classes of information:
(a) information in respect of an individual who is or was an officer or employee of a department that relates to the position or functions of the individual;
(b) the terms of a contract of or for personal services under which an individual performs services for a department, and the opinions or views of the individual given in the course of the performance of those services except where they are given in respect of another individual;
(c) information relating to a discretionary benefit conferred on an individual, including the name of the individual and the exact nature of the benefit;
(d) personal information to which, under the provisions of some other Act of the province, a person has the right of access; and
(e) information where the person who requests the information is the person to whom the information relates or where the person to whom the information relates permits in the prescribed manner access to the information by the person who requests the information.
1981 c5 s10Back to Top
11. A head may refuse access to information
(a) the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to affect adversely federal-provincial negotiations;
(b) respecting the enforcement of a law of Canada or the province, the conduct of lawful investigations or the security of correctional institutions;
(c) the disclosure of which would have a substantial adverse effect on the economic interests of the province;
(d) that would disclose legal opinions or advice provided to a person or department by a law officer of the Crown, or privileged communications as between solicitor and client in a matter of department business;
(e) indicating proposed legislation or regulations; or
(f) of a financial, commercial, scientific or technical nature the disclosure of which would affect either the continued access to that information or would affect the competitive position of a person or result in undue financial loss or gain to a person.
1981 c5 s11Back to Top
Appeal to Trial Division
12. (1) A person, including a 3rd party, may within 30 days of receiving the decision of the head appeal that decision to the Trial Division.
(2) The Trial Division shall determine the matter anew and may examine information in private in order to determine on the merits whether that information may be withheld under this Act.
(3) Where a decision is under appeal to the courts, information in respect of which the decision has been appealed shall not be released by the head of a department unless the head who may have refused access to that information decides otherwise.
1981 c5 s14; 1990 c64 s2Back to Top
Third party intervention
13. (1) Where the head intends to disclose information requested under this Act, that he or she has reason to believe might contain
(a) trade secrets of a 3rd party; or
(b) information described in paragraph 11(f) that was supplied by a 3rd party or that the head of a department could reasonably foresee might effect a result described in it in respect of a 3rd party,
the head shall, subject to subsection (2), where the 3rd party can reasonably be located, within 30 days after the request is received, give written notice to the 3rd party of the request and of the fact that the head intends to disclose the record or part of it.
(2) A 3rd party to whom a notice is required to be given under subsection (1) in respect of an intended disclosure may waive the requirement, and where the 3rd party has consented to the disclosure the 3rd party shall be considered to have waived the requirement.
(3) A notice given under subsection (1) shall include
(a) a statement that the head giving the notice intends to release a record or a part of a record that might contain material or information described in subsection (1);
(b) a description of the contents of the record or part of the record that belongs to, was supplied by or relates to the 3rd party to whom the notice is given; and
(c) a statement that the 3rd party may, within 20 days after the notice is given, make representations to the head that has control of the record as to why the record or part of the record should not be disclosed.
(4) Where a notice is given by the head under subsection (1) to a 3rd party in respect of a record or a part of the record,
(a) the 3rd party shall, within 20 days after the notice is given, be given the opportunity to make representations to the head as to why the record or the part of the record should not be disclosed; and
(b) the head shall, within 30 days after the notice is given, where the 3rd party has been given an opportunity to make representations under paragraph (a), make a decision as to whether or not to disclose the record or the part of the record and give written notice of the decision to the 3rd party.
(5) Representations made by a 3rd party under paragraph (4)(a) shall be made in writing unless the head concerned waives that requirement, in which case they may be made orally.
(6) A notice given under paragraph (4)(b) of a decision to disclose a record requested under this Act or a part of a record shall include
(a) a statement that the 3rd party to whom the notice is given is entitled to request a review of the decision within 20 days after the notice is given; and
(b) a statement that the person who requested access to the record will be given access to it or to the part of it unless, within 20 days after the notice is given, a review of the decision is requested.
(7) Where, under paragraph (4)(b), the head decides to disclose a record or part of a record requested under this Act, the head shall give the person who made the request access to the record or the part of it immediately on completion of 20 days after a notice is given under that paragraph, unless an appeal of the decision is requested under section 12.
(8) The head who has refused to give access to information requested under this Act shall immediately on being given notice of an appeal made under section 12 give written notice of the appeal to a 3rd party that the head has notified under subsection (1) in respect of the request or would have notified under that subsection where the head had intended to disclose the information or part of it.
(9) A 3rd party that has been given notice of an appeal under subsection (8) may appear as a party to the appeal.
1981 c5 s15; 1990 c64 s2Back to Top
Burden of proof
14. In a proceeding under this Act the burden of establishing that access to information requested under this Act may or shall be refused shall be on the head concerned.
1981 c5 s16Back to Top
Protection from proceedings
15. Notwithstanding another Act of the province, no action lies against the head or a person acting on behalf of the head, for or in relation to the disclosure in good faith of information under this Act.
1981 c5 s17Back to Top
16. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations for the purpose of this Act, including regulations
(a) prescribing the form and manner of referrals under this Act;
(b) prescribing forms;
(c) prescribing fees;
(d) prescribing those other procedures that may be necessary to carry out the purpose of this Act; or
(e) adding to the Schedule referred to in paragraph 2(a) those bodies that he or she thinks are appropriate.
1981 c5 s18
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Avalon Community College
The Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities
The C.A. Pippy Park Commission
The Cabot Institute of Applied Arts and Technology
The Canada Games Park Commission
The Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation
The Central Community College
The Eastern Community College
The Farm Development Loan Board
The Fisher Institute of Applied Arts and Technology
The Fisheries Loan Board of Newfoundland
The Happy Valley-Goose Bay Economic Development Corporation
The Institute of Fisheries and Marine Technology
The Labour Relations Board
The Labour Standards Board
The Labrador City-Wabush Economic Development Corporation
The Labrador Community College
The Labrador Resources Advisory Council
The Memorial University of Newfoundland
The Newfoundland Egg Marketing Board
The Newfoundland Farm Products Corporation
The Newfoundland Hardwoods Limited
The Newfoundland Human Rights Commission
The Newfoundland Industrial Development Corporation
The Newfoundland Institute for Management Advancement and Training
The Newfoundland & Labrador Computer Services Limited
The Newfoundland & Labrador Development Corporation Limited
The Newfoundland & Labrador Housing Corporation
The Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro Corporation
The Newfoundland & Labrador Marketing Board
The Newfoundland & Labrador Public Service Commission
The Newfoundland & Labrador Youth Commission
The Newfoundland Liquor Corporation
The Newfoundland Liquor Licensing Board
The Newfoundland Medical Care Commission
The Newfoundland Municipal Financing Corporation
The Newfoundland Oceans Research Development Corporation
The Provincial Planning Board
The Public Libraries Board
The Residential Tenancies Board
The Rural Development Authority
The St. John's Housing Authority
The St. John's Metropolitan Area Board
The Western Community College
The Workers' Compensation Commission
A hospital included in the Schedule to the Hospitals Act
A board, commission or other body added to this Schedule by order of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council
1981 c5 Sch; 1981 c85 s5; 1990 c36 s1
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