Canadian Government Archiving Requirements Guide

The Canadian Access to Information Act, or Information Act provides the right of access to information under the control of a federal government institution. The act states that  government information should be available to the public, but with necessary exceptions to the right of access that should be limited and specific, and that decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government.

Recent Ontario Archiving Guideline Updates

“Records relating to government business are subject to provincial access legislation, even if created, sent or received through instant messaging tools or personal email accounts.”

-Brian Beamish,
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

Brian Beamish, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario province recently issued a guideline for Ontario’s public institutions to help them comply with records access legislation, specifically dealing with text messages and instant messages. This guideline states that all public servants should be aware that, “Records relating to government business are subject to provincial access legislation, even if created, sent or received through instant messaging tools or personal email accounts.” This guideline directs Ontario institutions either to control the use of email, instant messaging, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, SMS, BlackBerry Messenger and PIN-to-PIN communications strictly when doing business, or plan for compliance by making sure those records are retained. The guideline also states that these types of communications are subject to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and Access to Information requests.

What Does This Mean for Government Agencies in Canada?

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All government agencies in Canada must provide access to information in records under the control of a government institution according to the Access to Information Act and the myriad of provincial acts (outlined above). The IPC of Ontario makes it clear that these records include not only email, but any government related communication. To facilitate access, Canadian government agencies should capture and archive all email, social media, and mobile communication data to comply with these guidelines, and be prepared for FIPPA requests. This data must be retained and readily accessible for oversight and compliance.


Archiving and Freedom of Information Guidelines for Canadian Provinces

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Alberta Freedom of Information Laws:

Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act“The purposes of this Act are to allow any person a right of access to the records in the custody or under the control of a public body subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act, to control the manner in which a public body may collect personal information from individuals, to control the use that a public body may make of that information and to control the disclosure by a public body of that information, to allow individuals, subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act, a right of access to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body, to allow individuals a right to request corrections to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body, and to provide for independent reviews of decisions made by public bodies under this Act and the resolution of complaints under this Act.”


British Columbia Freedom of Information Laws

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British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act  “The purposes of this Act are to make public bodies more accountable to the public and to protect personal privacy by giving the public a right of access to records, giving individuals a right of access to, and a right to request correction of, personal information about themselves, specifying limited exceptions to the rights of access, preventing the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure of personal information by public bodies, and providing for an independent review of decisions made under this Act.”


Manitoba Freedom of Information Laws

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Manitoba Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act “Provides a right of access to records held by public bodies and regulates how public bodies manage personal information. FIPPA also provides an independent review process for people who disagree with access and privacy decisions made by public bodies under the Act.”


New Brunswick Freedom of Information Laws

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New Brunswick Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act This act was given Royal Assent on June 19, 2009, bringing together two separate pieces of legislation: the Right to Information Act (1978) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (1998). Proclamation was September 1st, 2010. This act allows any person the right to access personal information under the control of public bodies and is designed to protect personal information.


Newfoundland and Labrador Freedom of Information Laws

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Newfoundland Freedom of Information Act  “The purpose of this Act is to provide a right of access by the public to information in records of departments and to subject that right only to specific and limited exceptions necessary for the operation of the departments and for the protection of personal privacy.”


Northwest Territories Freedom of Information Laws

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Northwest Territories Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP Act) – “Gives you a legal right to request access to information held by Northwest Territories public bodies as well as the right to request a correction to your personal information. The legislation also sets out when a public body may collect, use and disclose personal information.”


Nova Scotia Freedom of Information Laws

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Nova Scotia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActThis act, commonly known as FOIPOP, is the public sector privacy law and access to information law for the Province of Nova Scotia. This act deals with access to records that are under the control of public institutions, including provincial government departments, agencies, boards, commissions, some crown corporations, public universities, school boards, and hospitals. These type of organizations must readily provide access to public information.


Nunavut Freedom of Information Laws

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Nunavut Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (ATIPP) ActThis act provides “all citizens with the right to request access to information held by the Government of Nunavut (GN). It also ensures that the GN is protecting the privacy of personal information held by departments, agencies, commissions, corporation or offices, also known as public bodies.”


Ontario Freedom of Information Laws

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Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act“The purposes of this Act are, to provide a right of access to information under the control of institutions in accordance with the principles that, information should be available to the public, necessary exemptions from the right of access should be limited and specific, and decisions on the disclosure of information should be reviewed independently of the institution controlling the information; and to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by institutions and to provide individuals with a right of access to that information.”


Prince Edward Island Freedom of Information Laws

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Prince Edward Island Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act “The purposes of this Act are to allow any person a right of access to the records in the custody or under the control of a public body subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act; to control the manner in which a public body may collect personal information from individuals, to control the use that a public body may make of that information and to control the disclosure by a public body of that information; to allow individuals, subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act, a right of access to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body; to allow individuals a right to request corrections to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body; and to provide for independent reviews of decisions made by public bodies under this Act and the resolution of complaints under this Act.”


Quebec Freedom of Information Laws

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Quebec Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information – This act provides guidelines stating that, “access to documents contained in a file respecting the adoption of a person held by a public body and the protection of the personal information contained in such a file are governed by the Civil Code and other legislation respecting adoption.”


Saskatchewan Freedom of Information Laws

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Saskatchewan Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActThis act outlines the rights “of access to documents of the Government of Saskatchewan and a right of privacy with respect to personal information held by the Government of Saskatchewan”


Yukon Freedom of Information Laws

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Yukon Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act“Ensures that every individual has a right to access information and to protection of their privacy in information held by public bodies.”


Retain Unified Archiving Can Help!

GWAVA, a Canadian company headquartered in Montreal, provides Retain Unified Archiving, a powerful archiving suite. Retain archives multi-platform email, social media, web search and mobile communication data for case assessment, search, and eDiscovery and can be deployed on-prem or in the cloud. The Retain archive is accessible by end users and administrators directly through Retain’s Web Access Archive Viewer. This enables your organization to quickly access, search, and audit archived communication data. Easily place litigation holds, print, forward, save, redact, and export your message data.

Comply With Canadian Freedom of Information Regulations!

Ensure compliance with these new guidelines and have complete oversight with Retain!

Here are some steps to get you started

  1. View this short overview video of Retain

Recent Ontario Archiving Guideline Updates

“Records relating to government business are subject to provincial access legislation, even if created, sent or received through instant messaging tools or personal email accounts.”

-Brian Beamish,
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

 

Brian Beamish, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario province recently issued a guideline for Ontario’s public institutions to help them comply with records access legislation, specifically dealing with text messages and instant messages. This guideline states that all public servants should be aware that, “Records relating to government business are subject to provincial access legislation, even if created, sent or received through instant messaging tools or personal email accounts.” This guideline directs Ontario institutions either to control the use of email, instant messaging, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, SMS, BlackBerry Messenger and PIN-to-PIN communications strictly when doing business, or plan for compliance by making sure those records are retained. The guideline also states that these types of communications are subject to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and Access to Information requests.

What Does This Mean for Government Agencies in Canada?

Flag_of_Canada.pngAll government agencies in Canada must provide access to information in records under the control of a government institution according to the Access to Information Act and the myriad of provincial acts (outlined above). The IPC of Ontario makes it clear that these records include not only email, but any government related communication. To facilitate access, Canadian government agencies should capture and archive all email, social media, and mobile communication data to comply with these guidelines, and be prepared for FIPPA requests. This data must be retained and readily accessible for oversight and compliance.


Archiving and Freedom of Information Guidelines for Canadian Provinces

Alberta Freedom of Information Laws:Flag_of_Alberta.png

Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act“The purposes of this Act are to allow any person a right of access to the records in the custody or under the control of a public body subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act, to control the manner in which a public body may collect personal information from individuals, to control the use that a public body may make of that information and to control the disclosure by a public body of that information, to allow individuals, subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act, a right of access to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body, to allow individuals a right to request corrections to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body, and to provide for independent reviews of decisions made by public bodies under this Act and the resolution of complaints under this Act.”


Flag_of_British_Columbia.pngBritish Columbia Freedom of Information Laws

British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act  “The purposes of this Act are to make public bodies more accountable to the public and to protect personal privacy by giving the public a right of access to records, giving individuals a right of access to, and a right to request correction of, personal information about themselves, specifying limited exceptions to the rights of access, preventing the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure of personal information by public bodies, and providing for an independent review of decisions made under this Act.”


Flag_of_Manitoba.pngManitoba Freedom of Information Laws

Manitoba Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act “Provides a right of access to records held by public bodies and regulates how public bodies manage personal information. FIPPA also provides an independent review process for people who disagree with access and privacy decisions made by public bodies under the Act.”


Flag_of_New_Brunswick.pngNew Brunswick Freedom of Information Laws

New Brunswick Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act This act was given Royal Assent on June 19, 2009, bringing together two separate pieces of legislation: the Right to Information Act (1978) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (1998). Proclamation was September 1st, 2010. This act allows any person the right to access personal information under the control of public bodies and is designed to protect personal information.


Flag_of_Newfoundland_and_Labrador.pngNewfoundland and Labrador Freedom of Information Laws

Newfoundland Freedom of Information Act  “The purpose of this Act is to provide a right of access by the public to information in records of departments and to subject that right only to specific and limited exceptions necessary for the operation of the departments and for the protection of personal privacy.”


Flag_of_the_Northwest_Territories.pngNorthwest Territories Freedom of Information Laws

Northwest Territories Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP Act) – “Gives you a legal right to request access to information held by Northwest Territories public bodies as well as the right to request a correction to your personal information. The legislation also sets out when a public body may collect, use and disclose personal information.”


Flag_of_Nova_Scotia.pngNova Scotia Freedom of Information Laws

Nova Scotia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActThis act, commonly known as FOIPOP, is the public sector privacy law and access to information law for the Province of Nova Scotia. This act deals with access to records that are under the control of public institutions, including provincial government departments, agencies, boards, commissions, some crown corporations, public universities, school boards, and hospitals. These type of organizations must readily provide access to public information.


Flag_of_Nunavut.pngNunavut Freedom of Information Laws

Nunavut Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (ATIPP) ActThis act provides “all citizens with the right to request access to information held by the Government of Nunavut (GN). It also ensures that the GN is protecting the privacy of personal information held by departments, agencies, commissions, corporation or offices, also known as public bodies.”


Flag_of_Ontario.pngOntario Freedom of Information Laws

Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act“The purposes of this Act are, to provide a right of access to information under the control of institutions in accordance with the principles that, information should be available to the public, necessary exemptions from the right of access should be limited and specific, and decisions on the disclosure of information should be reviewed independently of the institution controlling the information; and to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by institutions and to provide individuals with a right of access to that information.”


Flag_of_Prince_Edward_Island.pngPrince Edward Island Freedom of Information Laws

Prince Edward Island Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act “The purposes of this Act are to allow any person a right of access to the records in the custody or under the control of a public body subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act; to control the manner in which a public body may collect personal information from individuals, to control the use that a public body may make of that information and to control the disclosure by a public body of that information; to allow individuals, subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act, a right of access to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body; to allow individuals a right to request corrections to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body; and to provide for independent reviews of decisions made by public bodies under this Act and the resolution of complaints under this Act.”


Flag_of_Quebec.svg.pngQuebec Freedom of Information Laws

Quebec Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information – This act provides guidelines stating that, “access to documents contained in a file respecting the adoption of a person held by a public body and the protection of the personal information contained in such a file are governed by the Civil Code and other legislation respecting adoption.”


Flag_of_Saskatchewan.pngSaskatchewan Freedom of Information Laws

Saskatchewan Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActThis act outlines the rights “of access to documents of the Government of Saskatchewan and a right of privacy with respect to personal information held by the Government of Saskatchewan”


Flag_of_Yukon.pngYukon Freedom of Information Laws

Yukon Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act“Ensures that every individual has a right to access information and to protection of their privacy in information held by public bodies.”


Retain Unified Archiving Can Help!

GWAVA, a Canadian company headquartered in Montreal, provides Retain Unified Archiving, a powerful archiving suite. Retain archives multi-platform email, social media, web search and mobile communication data for case assessment, search, and eDiscovery and can be deployed on-prem or in the cloud. The Retain archive is accessible by end users and administrators directly through Retain’s Web Access Archive Viewer. This enables your organization to quickly access, search, and audit archived communication data. Easily place litigation holds, print, forward, save, redact, and export your message data.

 

Comply With Canadian Freedom of Information Regulations!

Ensure compliance with these new guidelines and have complete oversight with Retain!

Here are some steps to get you started

  1. View this short overview video of Retain
  2. Read more about this new Ontario Text Message & Instant Message Records Access Guideline
  3. Learn more about Canada Access to Information Acts
  4. Get your no obligation quote  Get a Quote!
  5. Schedule your free personalized demo.
Que Mangus

Director of Product Marketing

Micro Focus

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