News Release Archive

Nova Scotians who have applied for information under the Freedom
of Information and Protection of Privacy Act have been granted
full or partial access to records 88 per cent of the time,
statistics released today by the Department of Justice indicate.

The act, implemented on July 1, 1994, provides Nova Scotians with
access to most records under the control of the provincial
government and protects the privacy of individuals who do not
want their personal information made public.

In the act's first three years, 986 applications were completed
by various government departments, agencies and commissions. Full
access was provided in 628 cases (63.7 per cent), and part or
most of the records were provided in 241 instances (24.4 per
cent). Access was denied in 110 cases (11.2 per cent). No records
were available in the remaining seven cases (0.7 per cent).

The provincial government received almost 1,200 applications in
total during this period. More than 200 applications were either
abandoned or withdrawn, or are pending.

Nova Scotians sent the majority of applications to the Department
of Health (200) and the Department of Community Services (198).
Other departments that received a significant number of requests
were: Environment (143), Labour (124), Justice (67), Economic
Development and Tourism (60), Transportation and Public Works
(56), and Education and Culture (54).  

Compared with other jurisdictions of comparable size, Nova Scotia
saw the act used on a fairly regular basis. In 1996, almost 500
requests for information were filed in this province, while
Manitoba received about 700 applications and Saskatchewan handled
approximately 450. New Brunswick received about 175 and
Newfoundland recorded 50 in the last year for which data are

Nova Scotia's disclosure record also appears to be among the
highest in Canada. Research indicates most provinces that track
statistics grant full access in 50 to 70 per cent of cases.

Use of the act has increased steadily since 1994. This year, most
requests for information --75.5 per cent --were received from the
public. The news media followed at 12.5 per cent and members of
the Legislative Assembly at 12 per cent.

The objective of the act is to make information more accessible
to Nova Scotians. It is designed to strike a balance between the
public's right to know and the individual's right to privacy.

Contact: Bob Doherty
         Department of Justice

ngr                 September 4, 1997                  10:00 am