Dagg v. Canada (Minister of Finance), (1997) 213 N.R. 161 (SCC)

JudgeLamer, C.J.C., La Forest,L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateJune 26, 1997
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1997), 213 N.R. 161 (SCC);[1997] 2 SCR 403;[1997] CarswellNat 869;1997 CanLII 358 (SCC);148 DLR (4th) 385;213 NR 161;46 Admin LR (2d) 155;JE 97-1384;[1997] SCJ No 63 (QL);132 FTR 55;[1997] ACS no 63;72 ACWS (3d) 5

Dagg v. Can. (1997), 213 N.R. 161 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

....................

Temp. Cite: [1997] N.R. TBEd. JN.026

Michael A. Dagg (appellant) v. The Minister of Finance (respondent) and The Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (interveners)

(24786)

Indexed As: Dagg v. Canada (Minister of Finance)

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest,L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ.

June 26, 1997.

Summary:

Dagg sought disclosure of Department of Finance sign-in sheets, which listed em­ployees working after hours. The Minis­ter disclosed the sheets, but deleted the names, identification numbers and signatures of the employees on the ground that the deleted information constituted personal information under s. 3 of the Privacy Act. Dagg complained to the Information Com­missioner. The Information Commissioner determined that the deleted information was personal information and was not subject to any of the exceptions to nondisclosure. Dagg applied under s. 41 of the Access to Infor­mation Act for a review of the decision.

The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Di­vision, in a decision reported 70 F.T.R. 54, allowed the application, holding that the deleted information was not personal infor­mation under s. 3. The Minister of Finance appealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 181 N.R. 139, allowed the appeal and set aside the decision of the trial judge. The court held that the deleted information was personal information not subject to disclosure. Dagg appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier and Major, JJ., dissenting, allowed the appeal.

Crown - Topic 7161

Examination of public documents - Freedom of information - Legislation - General - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the interpretative approach to be taken to the Access to Information Act (Can.) and the Privacy Act (Can.) - See paragraphs 1, 45 to 57.

Crown - Topic 7170

Examination of public documents - Freedom of information - Legislation - Disclosure - Personal information - Dagg sought disclosure of Finance Department sign-in sheets, which listed employees working after hours - The Minister dis­closed the sheets, but deleted the em­ployees' names because this was personal information (Privacy Act, s. 3) - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the names must be disclosed - The infor­mation was "personal information" within the meaning of s. 3 of the Act but fell with the exception in s. 3(j) - Both the opening words of s. 3(j) and the specific provisions of s. 3(j)(iii) were sufficiently broad to encompass the information sought - Section 3(j) provided that personal in­formation did not include information about government officers or employees that related to the position or functions of the individual, including, pursuant to s. 3(j)(iii), the classification, salary range and responsibilities of the individual's position - See paragraphs 1 to 19.

Crown - Topic 7206

Examination of public documents - Freedom of information - Bars - Personal information - [See Crown - Topic 7170 ].

Crown - Topic 7215

Examination of public documents - Freedom of information - Bars - Dis­closure where public interest outweighs risk of harm - Section 8(2)(m)(i) of the Privacy Act provided that personal infor­mation under the control of a government institution may be disclosed for any pur­pose where, in the opinion of the head of the institution, the public interest in dis­closure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the dis­closure - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the standard of review of a decision by a Minister under s. 8(2)(m)(i) - See paragraphs 16 to 18 and 101 to 115.

Cases Noticed:

Information Commissioner (Can.) v. Canada (Solicitor General), [1988] 3 F.C. 551; 20 F.T.R. 314 (T.D.), refd to. [paras. 10, 52].

Rubin v. Clerk of the Privy Council (Can.) (1993), 62 F.T.R. 287 (T.D.), refd to. [paras. 10, 94].

R. v. Morgentaler, [1993] 3 S.C.R. 463; 157 N.R. 97; 125 N.S.R.(2d) 81; 349 A.P.R. 81, refd to. [para. 49].

St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Ottawa v. Ottawa (City), [1982] 2 S.C.R. 616; 45 N.R. 271, refd to. [para. 51].

Information Commissioner (Can.) v. Canada (Secretary of State for External Affairs), [1990] 1 F.C. 395; 32 F.T.R. 161 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 52].

Information Commissioner (Can.) v. Minister of Employment and Immi­gration (1986), 5 F.T.R. 287 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 53].

Bland v. National Capital Commission et al., [1991] 1 F.C. 325; 41 F.T.R. 202 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 54].

Rubin v. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (President), [1989] 1 F.C. 265; 86 N.R. 186 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. Dyment, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 417; 89 N.R. 249; 73 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 13; 229 A.P.R. 13, refd to. [para. 65].

Southam Inc. v. Hunter, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; 55 N.R. 241; 55 A.R. 291, refd to. [para. 66].

R. v. Hebert, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 151; 110 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 66].

R. v. Broyles, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 595; 131 N.R. 118; 120 A.R. 189; 8 W.A.C. 189, refd to. [para. 66].

R. v. Sanelli, Duarte and Fasciano, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 30; 103 N.R. 86; 37 O.A.C. 322, refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. Duarte - see R. v. Sanelli, Duarte and Fasciano.

R. v. Osolin, [1993] 4 S.C.R. 595; 162 N.R. 1; 38 B.C.A.C. 81; 62 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 67].

Minister of National Revenue v. Schwartz, [1996] 1 S.C.R. 254; 193 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 68].

Katz v. United States (1967), 389 U.S. 347, refd to. [para. 71].

R. v. Wong et al., [1990] 3 S.C.R. 36; 120 N.R. 34; 45 O.A.C. 250, refd to. [para. 73].

R. v. Wise, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 527; 133 N.R. 161; 51 O.A.C. 351, refd to. [para. 73].

R. v. Plant (R.S.), [1993] 3 S.C.R. 281; 157 N.R. 321; 145 A.R. 104; 55 W.A.C. 104, refd to. [para. 75].

Canadian Jewish Congress v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [1996] 1 F.C. 268; 102 F.T.R. 30 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 89].

Sutherland v. Canada (Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs), [1994] 3 F.C. 527; 77 F.T.R. 241 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 89].

Terry v. Canada (Minister of National Defence) (1994), 86 F.T.R. 266 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 89].

MacKenzie v. Canada (Minister of National Health and Welfare) (1994), 88 F.T.R. 52 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 89].

Thorne v. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Electric Corp. (1993), 109 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 233; 343 A.P.R. 233 (Nfld. T.D.), refd to. [para. 94].

Orth v. Macdonald Dettwiler & Associates Ltd. (1986), 16 C.C.E.L. 41 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 95].

Information Commissioner (Can.) v. Ca­nadian Radio-Television and Telecom­munications Commission (Chairman) et al., [1986] 3 F.C. 413; 1 F.T.R. 317 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 104].

McHugh v. Union Bank of Canada, [1913] A.C. 299 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 108].

Smith & Rhuland Ltd. v. R. (ex rel. Andrews), [1953] 2 S.C.R. 95, refd to. [para. 108].

Boulis v. Minister of Manpower and Im­migration, [1974] S.C.R. 875, refd to. [para. 109].

Simpson v. Vancouver (City), [1977] 1 S.C.R. 71; 7 N.R. 550, refd to. [para. 109].

Isinger et al. v. Buckland No. 491 (Rural Municipality) (1986), 48 Sask.R. 207 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 109].

Michelin Tires Manufacturing (Canada) Ltd., Re (1975), 13 N.S.R.(2d) 587; 9 A.P.R. 587 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 109].

Grand Council of the Crees (of Quebec) v. Canada (Minister of External Affairs and International Trade), [1996] F.C.J. No. 903 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 109].

Kelly v. Canada (Solicitor General) et al. (1992), 53 F.T.R. 147 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 110].

Maple Lodge Farms Ltd. v. Canada and Canada (Minister of Economic Develop­ment), [1982] 2 S.C.R. 2; 44 N.R. 354, refd to. [para. 111].

Supermarchés Jean Labrecque Inc. v. Tribunal du Travail, [1987] 2 S.C.R. 219; 78 N.R. 201; 9 Q.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 114].

Canadian Arsenals Ltd. v. Canada Labour Relations Board, [1979] 2 F.C. 393 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 114].

R. v. MacDonald, [1977] 2 S.C.R. 665; 9 N.R. 271, refd to. [para. 114].

Northwestern Utilities Ltd. v. Edmonton (City), [1979] 1 S.C.R. 684; 23 N.R. 565; 12 A.R. 449, refd to. [para. 114].

Statutes Noticed:

Access to Information Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. A-1, sect. 2(1) [para. 26]; sect. 4(1) [para. 27]; sect. 19(1) [para. 28]; sect. 19(2) [para. 30]; sect. 41 [para. 33]; sect. 48 [para. 34]; sect. 49 [paras. 35, 106]; sect. 53(2) [para. 116].

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 7, sect. 8 [para. 66]; sect. 24(2) [para. 73].

Interpretation Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-21, sect. 11 [para. 108]; sect. 12 [para. 51].

Privacy Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-21, sect. 2 [para. 26]; sect. 3(i)[para. 29]; sect. 3(j) [paras. 2, 29]; sect. 8(2)(m)(i) [paras. 31, 101].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Birkinshaw, Patrick, Freedom of Infor­mation: The Law, the Practice and the Ideal (1988), pp. 61 to 84 [para. 59].

Canada, Report of the Task Force estab­lished by the Department of Communi­cations/Department of Justice, Privacy and Computers (1972), generally [para. 67].

Canada, House of Commons Debates, 1st Session - 32nd Parliament (June 28, 1982), vol. 16, p. 18853 [para. 50].

Canadian Bar Association, Special Com­mittee on Freedom of Information, Freedom of Information in Canada: A Model Bill (1979), p. 6 [para. 61].

Feinberg, Joel, Autonomy, Sovereignty, and Privacy: Moral Ideas in the Consti­tution? (1983), 58 Notre Dame L. Rev. 445, generally [para. 65].

Fried, Charles, "Privacy" (1968), 77 Yale L.J. 475, p. 483 [para. 67].

Hansard - see Canada, House of Com­mons Debates.

Jones, David Phillip and de Villars, Anne S., Principles of Administrative Law (2nd Ed. 1994), p. 299 [para. 114].

Leadbeater, Alan, Deputy Information Commissioner of Canada, How Much Privacy for Public Officials, Speech to Canadian Bar Association (Ontario), March 25, 1994, pp. 17 [para. 69]; 18 [para. 72].

Mullan, David J., Access to Information and Rule-Making, in John D. McCamus, ed., Freedom of Information: Canadian Perspectives (1981), p. 54 [para. 60].

Onyshko, Tom, The Federal Court and the Access to Information Act (1993), 22 Man. L.J. 73, p. 106 [para. 55].

Plamenatz, John, Democracy and Illusion (1973), pp. 178, 179 [para. 62].

Rowat, Donald C., How Much Adminis­trative Secrecy? (1965), 31 Can. J. of Economics and Political Science 479, p. 480 [para. 61].

Westin, Alan F., Privacy and Freedom (1970), pp. 7 [para. 67]; 349, 350 [para. 65].

Counsel:

Alan Riddell and Sean Gaudet, for the appellant;

Graham Garton, Q.C., and Anne M. Turley, for the respondent;

Denis J. Power, Q.C., and Holly Harris, for the intervener, the Privacy Commis­sioner of Canada;

Andrew Raven and David Yazbeck, for the intervener, the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Solicitors of Record:

Soloway, Wright, Ottawa, Ontario, for the appellant;

Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the respondent;

Nelligan, Power, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervener, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada;

Raven, Jewitt & Allen, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervener, the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

This appeal was heard on January 22, 1997, by Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The decision of the court was delivered on June 26, 1997, and the following opinions were filed:

Cory, J. (Lamer, C.J.C., Sopinka, McLachlin and Iacobucci, JJ., con­curring) - see paragraphs 1 to 19;

La Forest, J., dissenting (L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier and Major, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 20 to 117.

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