Order F2003-020: Summary
DATE: April 15, 2004
PUBLIC BODY: Calgary Police Service
FOIP REQUEST: The applicant requested access to all personal information, including opinions about him, collected by the Calgary Police Service (CPS) in respect of his applications for employment with CPS. Of the 264 responsive records located, CPS withheld or severed approximately one-half under the exceptions to disclosure for confidential evaluations or opinions (section 19), tests and audits (section 26), and third party privacy (section 17). The applicant asked the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review the matter.
ISSUES: The applicant submitted that section 19 did not apply to the third party opinions about him because the applicant was not advised that the opinions were provided in confidence. The applicant also claimed that CPS did not meet its duty to assist as a number of the records disclosed by CPS lacked page numbers, were illegible or were completely blank.
DECISION AND REASONS:
- The Adjudicator found that CPS did not fulfil its duty under section 10 to respond openly, accurately and completely to the applicant. CPS should have taken reasonable care to provide legible copies of records, including the portions of records concealed by post-it notes. The back pages of records containing information on both sides should have been numbered. In addition, CPS could have clearly identified severed portions of records by drawing a box around the portion of the page that was being withheld and writing the section number within the box.
- Citing Order 98-021, the Adjudicator found that CPS properly applied section 19 to withhold the records containing third party opinions about the applicant's suitability for employment. The Adjudicator determined the opinions were submitted in confidence, based on the in camera affidavit evidence of CPS, the fact that some records were stamped "confidential" and that CPS' Website indicated CPS would not release results of its recruitment investigations. The Adjudicator stated that for purposes of section 19, it is only necessary that a public body collect the information in confidence, not that the applicant be aware that the information is being collected in confidence.
- The Adjudicator found that CPS properly applied section 26 to some of the records that contained examination and interview questions, the applicant's answers, and "key factors" which were used to assess the candidate's records. The disclosure of these records could reasonably be expected to prejudice CPS' future testing of candidates. However, the Adjudicator determined that the blank "observations" and "scorebox" portions on some records were not evaluative or opinion material and could not be withheld under section 19.
- The Adjudicator found that CPS improperly applied section 17 to certain records. The cover sheet from the applicant's written test answer sheet, the blank "observations" and "scoreboxes" and the applicant's driving record did not contain personal information about a third party.
Calgary Police Service was ordered to provide the applicant with new legible copies of the severed records and to clearly indicate on the records the portions being severed and the provisions of the FOIP Act relied on to withhold the information. CPS was also ordered to release the records improperly withheld under section 17.
SECTOR: Police Service