FCA says successful candidates’ employment history not accessible under ATIA

The Federal Court of Appeal has just published a decision it issued back in September in which it held that information submitted by successful applicants in federal public service job competitions is not accessible under the Access to Information Act.

Records containing the personal information of others are generally not accessible to the public under the ATIA. The issue in this case was whether information about candidates’ experience in other federal public service positions is accessible because such information is excluded from the definition of personal information based on section 3(j) of the Privacy Act. Section 3(j) deems that personal information does not include:

information about an individual who is or was an officer or employee of a government institution that relates to the position or functions of the individual including (i) the fact that the individual is or was an officer or employee of the government institution, (ii) the title, business address and telephone number of the individual, (iii) the classification, salary range and responsibilities of the position held by the individual, (iv) the name of the individual on a document prepared by the individual in the course of employment, and (v) the personal opinions or views of the individual given in the course of employment

The Court held that section 3(j) applies to information about a federal public service position and that (in the context) employment history information and educational history information submitted by candidates is more about a person than about a position. The Court described the information as being “an individual’s personal assets” in the context.

Mr. Nault has filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Hat tip to AMiNA.

Nault v. Canada (Public Works and Government Services), 2011 FCA 263.

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