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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Greenleaf, Graham --- "Inquirey Re: A Request for Access to Ministry of Social Services" [1994] PrivLawPRpr 38; (1994) 1(3) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 53


Information and Privacy Commissioner (Commissioner Flaherty), Province of British Columbia, Canada (Order No 2-1994, 7 February 1994)

Access to personal information - access by non-custodial parent on behalf of minor - Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (BC)

A non-custodial father sought access to information about his infant son under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (BC), s4 of which provides a right of access to records about the applicant in the custody of a public body. r3(a) allows that right to be exercised by the ''parent or guardian' of a person under 19 incapable of exercising those rights. The Ministry of Social Services refused access. Information and Privacy Commissioner Flaherty held that ''parent' in r3(a) includes only those parents who have legal custody, and that non-custodial parents are therefore excluded from access. s4 is not concerned with the rights of parents to information about their children, but ''about who is the best person to exercise the infant's rights of access under the Act'.


This is the Commissioner's first decision on a privacy issue since the Act came into effect on 4 October 1993. Similar issues could arise under any freedom of information legislation. Australian legislation does not have explicit provisions equivalent to those in British Columbia.

Graham Greenleaf

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