Information Commr. v. CTAISB, (2006) 348 N.R. 263 (FCA)

JudgeRichard, C.J., Desjardins and Evans, JJ.A.
CourtFederal Court of Appeal (Canada)
Case DateMay 01, 2006
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2006), 348 N.R. 263 (FCA);2006 FCA 157

Information Commr. v. CTAISB (2006), 348 N.R. 263 (FCA)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2006] N.R. TBEd. MY.036

The Information Commissioner of Canada (appellant) v. The Executive Director of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board (respondent) and NAV Canada (respondent) and The Attorney General of Canada (intervenor)

(A-165-05; A-304-05; 2006 FCA 157)

Indexed As: Information Commissioner (Can.) v. Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board

Federal Court of Appeal

Richard, C.J., Desjardins and Evans, JJ.A.

May 1, 2006.

Summary:

Four persons applied under the Access to Information Act (ATIA) for disclosure of tapes and transcripts of conversations be­tween air traffic controllers and pilots in­volving four separate plane crashes. The Executive Director of the Canadian Trans­portation Accident Investigation and Safety Board refused to disclose the information on the basis that the conversations were per­sonal information under s. 3 of the Privacy Act. The Director submitted that the com­munications were not to be disclosed under s. 19(1) (ATIA), that disclosure was not war­ranted under s. 19(2) (ATIA) and that s. 20(1) (ATIA) prohibited disclosure. The In­formation Commissioner applied under s. 42 (ATIA) for judicial review of the deci­sion. Additionally, the Information Commis­sioner claimed that s. 9(2) of the Radio­communica­tions Act violated s. 2(b) of the Charter.

The Federal Court, in a judgment reported (2005), 271 F.T.R. 7, dismissed the applica­tion. The communications were personal in­for­mation (s. 3) not to be disclosed (s. 19(1)). The Director did not err in exercising his discretion by refusing disclosure of the one conversation which was "publicly avail­able" (s. 19(2)) or in exercising his discre­tion under s. 8(2)(m)(i) (Privacy Act) (dis­closure where public interest in disclosure outweighed privacy invasion). The court held that it was unnecessary to resolve the Charter issue. The Information Commissioner ap­pealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal allowed the ap­peal and ordered that the requested infor­mation be disclosed. The trial judge erred in finding that the information requested was "personal information".

Crown - Topic 7170

Examination of public documents - Free­dom of information - Legislation - Disclos­ure - Personal information - [See Crown - Topic 7206 ].

Crown - Topic 7171

Examination of public documents - Free­dom of information - Legislation - Disclo­sure - Confidential information supplied by third party - Four persons applied under the Access to Information Act for disclo­sure of tapes and transcripts of conversa­tions between air traffic controllers and pilots involving four separate plane crashes - The Federal Court of Appeal held that the communications were not "personal information" under s. 3 of the Privacy Act - NAV Canada opposed disclosure under s. 20(1)(b) of the Access to Information Act, which precluded disclosure of "financial, commercial, scientific or technical infor­mation that is confidential information supplied to a government institution by a third party" - The court held that the s. 20(1)(b) exception did not apply, because the communications were not financial, com­mercial, scientific or technical and, in any event, the communications were not con­fidential - See paragraphs 65 to 79.

Crown - Topic 7206

Examination of public documents - Free­dom of information - Bars - Personal in­for­mation - Section 19(1) of the Access to Information Act provided that personal in­formation as defined under s. 3 of the Privacy Act shall not be disclosed subject to the exceptions in s. 19(2) - The Federal Court held that recorded conversations be­tween air traffic controllers and pilots constituted "personal information" under s. 3 (i.e. information about an identifiable individual that was recorded in any form) -The Federal Court of Appeal disagreed, find­ing that the communications were not "personal information" - The content of the communications were not "about" an indi­vidual - The court stated that "privacy thus connotes concepts of intimacy, identity, dignity and integrity of the individual" - The communications were limited to safety and navigation of aircraft - The communi­cations were "non-personal information trans­mitted by an individual in job-related circumstances" - The fact that the com­munications might be used to evaluate the job performance of controllers did not make the information "personal" - See para­graphs 1 to 64.

Crown - Topic 7214.1

Examination of public documents - Free­dom of information - Bars - Commercial, fi­nancial, labour relations, scientific or tech­nical information - [See Crown - Topic 7171 ].

Cases Noticed:

Dagg v. Canada (Minister of Finance), [1997] 2 S.C.R. 403; 213 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 7].

Sabourin et al. v. Watterodt et al. (2005), 213 B.C.A.C. 301; 352 W.A.C. 301; 44 B.C.L.R.(4th) 244; 2005 BCCA 348, refd to. [para. 15].

Heinz (H.J.) Co. of Canada Ltd. v. Canada (Attorney General) (2006), 347 N.R. 1; 2006 SCC 13, refd to. [para. 35].

Information Commissioner (Can.) v. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Commission­er), [2003] 1 S.C.R. 66; 301 N.R. 41; 2003 SCC 8, refd to. [para. 37].

Ontario (Attorney General) v. Pascoe et al. (2001), 154 O.A.C. 97 (Div. Ct.), affd. (2002), 166 O.A.C. 88 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 43].

Olmstead v. United States (1928), 277 U.S. 438, refd to. [para. 46].

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. 47].

Air Atonabee Ltd. v. Canada (Minister of Transport) (1989), 27 F.T.R. 194 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 69].

Société Gamma Inc. v. Canada (Secretary of State) (1994), 79 F.T.R. 42 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 72].

Cyanamid Canada Inc. v. Canada (Minister of National Health and Welfare) (1992), 52 F.T.R. 22 (T.D.), affd. (1992), 148 N.R. 147 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 72].

Merck Frosst Canada & Co. v. Canada (Minister of Health), [2006] 1 F.C.R. 379; 343 N.R. 221 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 72].

Hi-Rise Group Inc. v. Canada (Minister of Public Works and Government Services) (2004), 318 N.R. 242 (F.C.A.), [para. 72].

Information Commissioner (Can.) v. Atlan­tic Canada Opportunities Agency (1999), 250 N.R. 314 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 73].

Wyeth-Ayerst Canada Inc. v. Canada (At­torney General), [2002] F.T.R. Uned. 611 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 73].

Canadian Football League v. Canada (Min­ister for Fitness and Amateur Sports) and Shoalts, [1989] 2 F.C. 480; 24 F.T.R. 62 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 75].

Statutes Noticed:

Access to Information Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. A-1, sect. 19 [para. 31]; sect. 20(1)(b) [para. 65]; sect. 24 [para. 24].

Canadian Transportation Accident Investi­gation and Safety Board Act, S.C. 1989, c. 3, sect. 2 [para. 17]; sect. 7 [para. 18]; sect. 29(1)(a) [para. 20]; sect. 29(6) [para. 21]; sect. 28 [para. 23].

Privacy Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-21, sect. 2 [para. 44]; sect. 3 [para. 32]; sect. 4 [para. 33].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Canada, De­partment of Communications/ De­partment of Justice Task Force Report, Privacy and Com­puters (1972), p. 13 [para. 49].

Cohen, Stanley A., Privacy, Crime and Ter­ror (2005), p. 9 [para. 46].

McNairn, Colin H.H., and Woodbury, Christopher D., Government Information: Access and Privacy (1992), p. 7-5 [para. 43].

Warren, Samuel D., and Brandeis, Louis D., The Right to Privacy, [1890-91] 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193, p. 193 [para. 45].

Counsel:

Daniel Brunet, Raynold Langlois, Q.C., Marlys Edwardh and François LeBel, for the appellant;

Barbara A. McIsaac, Q.C., and Gregory Tzemenakis, for the respondent, Execu­tive Director, CTAISB;

Brian A. Crane, Q.C., and Graham S. Ragan, for the respondent, NAV Canada;

Christopher Rupar, for the intervenor.

Solicitors of Record:

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the appel­lant;

McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Ottawa, Ontario, for the respondent, Executive Director, CTAISB;

Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Ottawa, Ontario, for the respondent, NAV Canada;

John H. Simms, Q.C., Deputy Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervenor.

This appeal was heard on February 28 and March 1, 2006, at Ottawa, Ontario, before Richard, C.J., Desjardins and Evans, JJ.A., of the Federal Court of Appeal.

On May 1, 2006, Desjardins, J.A., deliv­ered the following judgment for the Court of Appeal.

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  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Information and Privacy Law in Canada
    • June 25, 2020
    ...180 Canada (Information Commissioner) v Canada (Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board), 2006 FCA 157 .............196, 203, 208–9, 238 INFORMATION AND PRIVACY LAW IN CANADA 500 Canada (Minister of Justice) v Blank, 2007 FCA 87 .......................................... 18......
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    • June 25, 2018
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    • Irwin Books Information and Privacy Law in Canada
    • June 25, 2020
    ..., above note 325 at 210. 352 Canada (Information Commissioner) v Canada (Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board) , 2006 FCA 157 at para 72 [ CTAISB ]. 353 Merck Frosst , above note 137 at para 150. Access to Information in the Public Sector 197 information to be supplied, “e......
  • The Broad, Liberal, and Purposive Interpretation of Quasi-constitutional Legislation
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    • Irwin Books Quasi-constitutional Laws of Canada
    • June 25, 2018
    ...Act , Canada (Information Commissioner) v Canada (Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board) , 2005 FC 384 at para 43, rev’d 2006 FCA 157, leave to appeal to SCC refused, [2006] SCCA No 259. Broad, Liberal, & Purposive Interpretation of Quasi-constitutional Legislation 71 broad......
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