November 28, 2023
EDMONTON – The 2022-2023 Annual Report of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) of Alberta was tabled today by the Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly. This is the first annual report reflecting the work of the office under the tenure of Commissioner Diane McLeod, who began her five-year term on August 1, 2022.
The Commissioner notes in her annual report message that a key focus for her office is related to the continuing emergence and use of innovative technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), in the delivery of services.
“Innovative technologies can benefit citizens through improvement of services, but harm to individuals and the public can also result, including harm stemming from the use of personal or health information,” said McLeod. “I have always been a firm believer in supporting the use of technology to innovate, including technology that involves the use of personal or health information, so long as there is a clear pathway of responsible innovation.”
Commissioner McLeod advocates for a proper regulatory framework to facilitate the use of personal and health information, where appropriate and necessary, in the development, implementation and use of innovative technologies.
“This framework must include measures to prevent harm, ensure effective oversight and provide strong deterrence against non-compliance,” added McLeod. “To encourage public trust, the system underlying the use of technology must be robust from a privacy management perspective. This will entail changes to all three laws that govern privacy in Alberta, as well as increased support to encourage the use of privacy management programs amongst public bodies, custodians and private sector organizations.”
Another key focus emphasized in her annual report message is to address the significant backlog in conducting OIPC casework, which has built up over a number of years. New projects and procedures have been developed with the goal of reducing the time to process a file while still maintaining quality and value.
The annual report is available on the OIPC website at https://oipc.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Annual-Report-22-23.pdf.
Through the OIPC, the Commissioner performs the responsibilities set out in Alberta’s three access to information and privacy laws, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP Act), the Health Information Act (HIA) and the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The Commissioner operates independent of government.