Coon v. N.B., 2014 NBQB 117

Judge:Clendening, J.
Court:Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick
Case Date:May 01, 2014
Jurisdiction:New Brunswick
Citations:2014 NBQB 117;(2014), 420 N.B.R.(2d) 190 (TD)
 
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Coon v. N.B. (2014), 420 N.B.R.(2d) 190 (TD);

    420 R.N.-B.(2e) 190; 1091 A.P.R. 190

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[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

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Temp. Cite: [2014] N.B.R.(2d) TBEd. JN.017

Renvoi temp.: [2014] N.B.R.(2d) TBEd. JN.017

In The Matter Of an Appeal under section 75 of the Rights to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, S.N.B. 2009, c. R-10.6

David Coon (applicant) v. Province of New Brunswick (respondent)

(FM/13/14; 2014 NBQB 117; 2014 NBBR 117)

Indexed As: Coon v. New Brunswick

Répertorié: Coon v. New Brunswick

New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench

Trial Division

Judicial District of Fredericton

Clendening, J.

May 6, 2014.

Summary:

Résumé:

Coon sought general information under the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act regarding: (a) copies of contractual agreements made with parties contracted to analyze, evaluate and/or propose shale gas royalty systems/taxes for the Province of New Brunswick; and (b) copies of reports submitted by parties/consultants under (a). The Privacy Commissioner made the following two recommendations: "... we recommend pursuant to paragraph 60(1)(h) of the Act that the Department prepare a list of these relevant records, i.e., a list of the four consultants' contracts and of the four consultants' reports in this matter. ... we recommend pursuant to subsection 73(1) of the Act that the Department release to the Applicant the consultants' contracts in full, except for the information regarding the negotiation strategy in relation to another industry which can be properly redacted pursuant to paragraph 26(1)(b) of the Act." The Minister of Finance decided not to accept the recommendations. Coon appealed.

The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, allowed the appeal in part. The Commissioner recommended that Consultant B's report be released "except for the information regarding the negotiating strategy in relation to another industry." Those redactions were in keeping with ss. 26(1)(b) ("Advice to a public body") and 22 ("Disclosure harmful to a third party's business or financial interests"). There was a reasonable risk of harm to Consultant A and B's ability to be competitive if certain other personal information was disclosed. Consequently, the court amended the Commissioner's recommendation in that in each of the Reports and Contracts, all information disclosing the names, or that could possibly identify the Consultants was to be redacted, as well as the per diem rates in the contract, and in the report if it also appeared there. The maximum amount to be paid and the final contract amount payable under each contract was not information that interfered with the Consultants' competitive edge and should not be redacted. The court otherwise upheld the Privacy Commissioner's recommendations and ordered the Province to comply.

Crown - Topic 7173

Examination of public documents - Freedom of information - Legislation - Disclosure of information where disclosure could result in financial loss or prejudice to competitive position - Coon sought general information under the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act regarding: (a) copies of contractual agreements made with parties contracted to analyze, evaluate and/or propose shale gas royalty systems/taxes for the Province of New Brunswick; and (b) copies of reports submitted by parties/consultants under (a) - The Privacy Commissioner made the following two recommendations: "... we recommend pursuant to paragraph 60(1)(h) of the Act that the Department prepare a list of these relevant records, i.e., a list of the four consultants' contracts and of the four consultants' reports in this matter. ... we recommend pursuant to subsection 73(1) of the Act that the Department release to the Applicant the consultants' contracts in full, except for the information regarding the negotiation strategy in relation to another industry which can be properly redacted pursuant to paragraph 26(1)(b) of the Act." - The Minister of Finance decided not to accept the recommendations - Coon filed an appeal under the Act - The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, allowed the appeal in part - The Commissioner recommended that Consultant B's report be released "except for the information regarding the negotiating strategy in relation to another industry." - Those redactions were in keeping with ss. 26(1)(b) ("Advice to a public body") and 22 ("Disclosure harmful to a third party's business or financial interests") of the Act - There was a reasonable risk of harm to Consultant A and B's ability to be competitive if certain other personal information was disclosed - Consequently, all information disclosing the names, or that could possibly identify the Consultants was to be redacted, as well as the per diem rates in the contract, and in the report if it also appeared there - The maximum amount to be paid and the final contract amount payable under each contract was not information that interfered with the Consultants' competitive edge and should not be redacted - The court otherwise upheld the Commissioner's recommendations and ordered the Province to comply.

Crown - Topic 7208.1

Examination of public documents - Freedom of information - Bars - Advice, proposals, analyses or policy options developed for government or public body - [See Crown - Topic 7173 ].

Couronne - Cote 7173

Examen de documents publics - Accès à l'information - Législation - Divulgation de l'information lorsque la divulgation pourrait occasionner des pertes financières ou préjudicier la position concurrentielle - [Voir Crown - Topic 7173 ].

Couronne - Cote 7208.1

Examen de documents publics - Accès à l'information - Obstacles - Conseils, propositions, analyses ou options politiques élaborés pour le gouvernement ou un organisme public - [Voir Crown - Topic 7208.1 ].

Counsel:

Avocats:

The applicant, self represented;

Michael L. Hynes, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on May 1, 2014, by Clendening, J., of the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, Judicial District of Fredericton, who delivered the following decision on May 6, 2014.

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