Case Report – NSCA opines on meaning of “educational history” in FOI law

On May 14th, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal affirmed a chambers judge’s finding that a list of names of over 4,000 certified electricians was not exempt from public access. In doing so, it held that the list’s disclosure was not presumed to be an unreasonable invasion of privacy as a disclosure of information that “relates to educational history,” stating:

In order to be found to be employment or educational history, the information must do more than simply have some sort of link to employment or education. The words “employment and educational” are not nouns, but adjectives which describe the word “history”. The presumption against disclosure will only arise if the information relates to “employment or educational history” in the fuller sense set out in the jurisprudence.

Here the requested information consisted of the list of certified construction electricians. The only particulars on that list were the names of individuals with certificates of qualification or of apprenticeship… The principles developed in the jurisprudence relating to employment history would also apply to educational history. Here, no information as to an individual’s educational background, such as schools attended, courses, discipline, and assessments can be gleaned from the list of names.

The Court relied on the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2003 decision in Canada (Information Commissioner) v. Canada (Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police).

A.B. v. Griffiths, 2009 NSCA 48.

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