Nova Scotia Domestic Violence Action Plan Update 2012
Domestic Violence Action Plan
On Nov. 20, 2012, Justice Minister Ross Landry announced the Transgendered Persons Protection Act. This Act makes it clear that Nova Scotians cannot be denied a job, a place to live or service at a business because they are transgender. Nova Scotia is the fourth jurisdiction in Canada to include a specific reference to gender identity in its human rights legislation.
Click here to read questions and answers related to PIIDPA.
All records held by a government department, agency, board or commission as well as a school board, school, community college, district health authority, hospital, children’s aid society, or a university are subject to the Act. As well, certain other organizations such as the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission and their records fall under the Act. Municipalities and their records fall under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Provisions of Part XX of the Municipal Government Act. Access to such records is subject to limited and specific exemptions for certain types of information.
On average there are more than 1,000 requests made annually to the N.S. Government, school boards, universities, community colleges, district health authorities, and children’s aid societies.
About 80 percent of all Freedom of Information Applications receive some information, and about half receive all of the information that is requested.
Municipalities are under the Freedom of Information provisions of Part XX of the Municipal Government Act. While there are some differences between the provisions in that Act and those in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the sections of both laws are similar, and your chances of obtaining information from either a “public body” under FOIPOP and a municipality should be the same.
No, records of the federal government may only be accessible under either the federal Access to Information Act or the federal Privacy Act. Please consult the blue pages of your phone book for more information about where to call to obtain more information.
It depends on where the records are located. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police fall under the federal Access to Information and Privacy Acts. Municipal police forces, the Public Prosecution Service, and the NS Department of Justice are subject to either the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or Part XX of the Municipal Government Act. It is suggested that the appropriate agencies be contacted prior to submitting a request for access to determine which agency would have the records.
You should call the appropriate public body or municipality first, or if you don’t know which public body or municipality to contact, call the Nova Scotia Information Access & Privacy Office at the N.S. Department of Justice at 424-2719 or check the Justice IAP/FOIPOP website. You should specify the information you are seeking, and ask whether a FOIPOP application is necessary to obtain it. The department or agency is not permitted to ask why you want the information, but you may volunteer the reason yourself if you think it will help focus the search and retrieval of records. The public body or municipality will advise you whether you will need to make a FOIPOP application to obtain the information, or whether the information can be made available to you under its Routine Access Policy.
You are required to make a request in writing for both general information and for information about yourself. Information about yourself is not subject to an application fee. Requesting general information or information that is not about yourself is subject to a mandatory application fee. The application fee is $5.00. The cheque or money order for $5.00 should be made out to the NS Minister of Finance, the public body, or the specific municipality. You may use a Form 1 - Application for Access to a Record, to make your application.
The public body or municipality is required to respond to your request in writing within 30 days. This time period may be extended if a large volume of records is requested, or must be searched. However, any time extension beyond an additional 30 days requires the permission of the Review Officer. If another public body or municipality has some or all of the information you are seeking, your application may be transferred to them. This transfer must take place within 15 days of the receipt of your application, unless the FOIPOP Review Officer gives permission for a longer time period.
You may request a review by the FOIPOP Review Officer of any decision not to disclose all or part of a record. This must be done within 60 days of receiving the disclosure decision. You may also appeal the decision directly to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia within 30days of receipt of the decision.
Even after the Review Officer has given his/her recommendations on the disclosure, you may still appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
There is a mandatory $5.00 application fee for any information that is not about you. In addition there may be processing fees for work that has to be done to fulfill your request. You will be provided an estimate of the fees prior to any processing work being done. You may also seek a waiver of any processing fees, or you may request a review by the FOIPOP Review Officer of any decision to charge fees. The waiver of processing fees is discretionary, and the criteria for waiver are in FOIPOP Section 11.
You may contact the N.S. Information Access & Privacy Office at (902) 424-6836, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you live outside the Halifax area, call the toll free Public Enquiries Line at 1-800-424-5200. Tell the Public Enquiries Officer which department you wish to obtain information from and the Officer will give you the name and number of the Department's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Administrator.
Municipalities are under the Freedom of Information provisions of Part XX, sections 462 though 502, of the Municipal Government Act (MGA). While there are some differences between the provisions in that Act and those in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP), the sections of both laws are similar, and your chances of obtaining information from either a “public body” under FOIPOP and a municipality should be the same.
The municipality is obligated to respond to a request in writing within 30 days of receipt of a request. This time period may be extended if a large volume of records is requested, or must be searched. However, any time extension beyond an additional 30 days requires the permission of the Review Officer.
For non-personal information and for personal information not about the individual requesting the information, the thirty days begins when the application fee is received. If an applicant does not provide the application fee with the request for information, the municipality should notify the applicant that the request will not be processed until the application fee is received within that thirty day period. If the information requested is personal information about the individual making the request, the thirty days begin upon receipt of the request for information.
If the request is large, the municipality may request a fee to process the request. In this case the municipality should contact the applicant by sending a fee estimate and notifying the applicant that the thirty day period is stopped on that date and will restart once the fee is received. For example, a letter providing a fee estimate the day after the request is received will stop the processing at day two and the processing will restart once the fee is received, meaning that the municipality has twenty-eight days left to respond.
If the number of records to be searched is very large or if the municipality needs to confer with a third party, the municipality may extend the thirty period another thirty days. The municipality is required to notify the applicant of this extension and advise the applicant that s/he may lodge a complaint with the Review Officer. If the municipality requires more than the additional thirty days to respond, permission must be obtained from the Review Officer.
Yes, there is both a review process and an appeal process, as described below:
Requesting a review - Within 60 days of receiving a written decision from or failure to act by a municipality an applicant may request a review of the decision by the Review Officer. The decision letter from the municipality will provide the reason for the decision(s) and will outline the process for requesting a review.
The Review Officer may try to settle the matter through mediation. If that is not possible, the Review Officer will investigate the matter, write a report, and make a recommendation to the municipality. The municipality is not obligated to accept the Review Officer’s recommendation, but they must communicate their response to the Review Officer's recommendations to the applicant and any relevant third parties involved within thirty days of receiving the Review Officers Report.
Making an appeal - An applicant can also appeal the decision of a municipality directly to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, without asking for a review by Review Officer, if the information requested does not affect a third party, or the third party has given his or her permission to disclose that personal information. This appeal must be made within 30 days of receiving the municipality’s decision. Decisions made by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia are binding. The Review Officer is not a party to an appeal.