Alberta Privacy Chief Seeks Overhaul of Province’s Privacy Law

    May 08, 2017

    As recently reported on, Alberta Privacy Commissioner Jilly Clayton says the wording of a major privacy law is hampering the efforts of her office to get information from the government in order to fulfill requests. She says many information requests from opposition parties, the media, and the public have been stymied, going back to 2012.

    Clayton says the obstruction was the subject of a recent Supreme Court ruling that found the problem is with the wording of Alberta's Freedom Of Information and Protection of Privacy law.

    In April, her office tabled two reports in the legislature outlining the problems, including a request to change the law to make it effective.

    "What should have been a relatively straightforward investigation has concluded under a shadow that brings the very notion of independent oversight of the executive branch of government into question and has the potential to erode public confidence in an open and accountable government,” she said.

    The commission says her office should have the authority to require the government to give it the records it requests, and to determine if they are protected by legal privilege. She says the law must be updated so the public can get data in an affordable, timely way to keep the government accountable.

    "Access to information is of fundamental importance to democracy and citizens participating in democracy. Citizens have a right to know what information the government has about them,” she said.

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