As reported widely, yesterday the Court of Appeal for Ontario affirmed an IPC/Ontario finding that gross revenue earned by Ontario’s top earning doctors was not their personal information.
There’s not much to the decision. (A number of the grounds for appeal were “optimistic.”) The decision illustrates that information must reveal something of a personal nature about an individual (in the relevant context) to be the individual’s personal information. In the doctors’ case, the link between gross income and the personal finances was not strong, as noted by the Court:
The information sought was the affected physicians’ gross revenue before allowable business expenses such as office, personnel, lab equipment, facility and hospital expenses. The evidence before the Adjudicator indicated, however, that, in the case of these 100 top billing physicians, those expenses were variable and considerable.
In another context, gross revenue information could be personal information. What is and is not personal information is a VERY contextual matter.