Jan 292010
 January 29, 2010  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S.

Karen Kleiss reports:

Alberta’s highest court says the province’s backlogged Information and Privacy Commissioner can no longer take “routine extensions” in privacy cases, a decision that extends to complaints under health and access-to-information laws.

In a 2-1 decision released Wednesday, the Court of Appeal said the commissioner can extend the legislated 90-day time limit only if he can justify it in each case.

“Blanket or routine extensions seem unlikely to be regarded as reasonable if they cannot also be justified in the specific circumstances of the case,” Court of Appeal Justice Jack Watson wrote for the majority.

“The time rules intend to promote inquiry efficiency and the expeditious resolution of privacy claims. Timeliness is a necessary feature of how (the law) serves the public interest.”

The decision comes five years after a handful of Alberta Teacher’s Association members dropped out of the union and later saw their names listed in the ATA newsletter. They complained to Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner that the publication was a breach of their privacy rights.

Read more on The Province.

Wow. Not only does Canada have privacy commissioners who actually investigate complaints, but they must do so in a timely fashion. Color me wildly jealous.

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