Case Report – IPC says university foundation is not part of university under FIPPA

Unlike many entities designated as “institutions” under FIPPA, universities have complex corporate structures and are often affiliated with related corporations. Though the definition of “institution” in FIPPA is fairly black and white – it rests primarily on express designation – the issue of FIPPA’s scope of application has been of some concern to Ontario universities since they came under the Act in 2006.

On December 1st of last year, the IPC issued an order on point and did see the analysis as being simple and based on corporate status. Adjudicator Smith concluded:

I find that the YUF is a separate corporation from the corporation that is the University. Therefore, I find that the YUF is not part of the University and that it is not subject to the provisions of the Act.

Though records held by a non-regulated corporation but “controlled” by a FIPPA-regulated institution are subject to the right of public access, this order does lend some clarity to an important issue for universities.

Order PO-2738, 2008 CanLII 68864 (ON I.P.C.).

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