Ontario Privacy Commissioner Patricia Kosseim breathes new life into the official IPCO Blog

In the span of a week, three excellent new articles appeared on the official Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPCO) Blog. Each article is attributed to the new Information and Privacy Commissioner, Patricia Kosseim.

The first article summarizes the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent reference decision Reference re Genetic Non‑Discrimination Act, 2020 SCC 17, which upholds the constitutionality of the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act.

The second article announces the IPCO’s newest fact sheet, “Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic“, which “includes best practices and strategies for adopting new virtual communication channels while continuing to protect personal information and responsibly manage data.” In the same announcement, Commissioner Kosseim reinforces a message that she states “should be abundantly clear now: Ontario’s access and privacy laws continue to apply even when working from home.”

In the most recent article, Commissioner Kosseim describes a recent Divisional Court decision, Brockville (City) v. Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario, 2020 ONSC 4413, which she notes is the first judicial decision in the post-Vavilov era to confirm that courts should generally be applying the “reasonableness” standard when reviewing decisions of the IPCO, rather than the less deferential “correctness” standard. The practical effect of this decision is that it makes it less likely that IPCO decisions will be overturned on appeal to Divisional Court; even if the Divisional Court might have decided a matter differently on its own, it is expected to grant deference to the IPCO’s expertise in interpreting and applying Ontario’s access to information laws.

In my view, these three articles are some of the most interesting and informative content to appear on the IPCO Blog. The fact that these three articles were released in the span of a week would seem to indicate that the IPCO Blog may now be the beneficiary of increased energy and enthusiasm under Commissioner Kosseim.

If you haven’t already been following the content posted on the IPCO Blog, now may be a good time to start. Readers can subscribe to the IPCO website by filling out their email address under the “Get Updates From Us” heading at the bottom of the website and then hitting the “Subscribe” button.

Of course, I will be keeping readers informed of new FOI developments as well, including important FOI-related updates announced on the IPCO Blog. If you’d like to subscribe to the FOI Assist website and see more articles like this one, enter your email address under the “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” heading at the bottom of the page and then hit follow.

If you’d like to stay engaged with further updates and see pre-release previews and demos of the FOI Assist software, please follow FOI Assist. To subscribe, simply enter your email address at the bottom of the page then click the follow button.

Published by Justin Petrillo

I have created the FOI Assist™ software to help Ontario’s provincial and municipal government institutions of all sizes track and respond to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. For most of my career I have been a lawyer, advising clients on commercial, intellectual property and FOI/privacy issues. From 2013 to 2015, I managed the FOI program for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee while serving as Legal Counsel to the Games. Prior to becoming a lawyer, I obtained a computer science degree and worked as a software developer at several well-known technology companies.

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