- What information might the Board allow to be filed confidentially?
- Can a whole matter be confidential?
- How to request a matter or information be kept in confidential?
What information might the Board allow to be filed confidentially?
All information filed with the Board is ordinarily publicly accessible, but the Board may allow information to be filed confidentially to prevent harm or protect personal privacy. That could include things like:
- Personal medical information
- Trade secrets; commercial, financial, labour relations, scientific or technical information, where disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause harm.
If a document has confidential information, it does not mean the entire document will be confidential.
If the Board agrees that information can be filed confidentially, the party filing it must provide:
- A public version of the document with the confidential information permanently redacted so that it cannot be retrieved, but with all the non-confidential information remaining visible.
- A confidential version with the confidential information highlighted in grey.
- The page numbering, page breaks and formatting of the public and confidential versions of the document should be the same, with the only difference being the removal of the confidential information in the public version and the grey highlighting in the confidential version.
The Board publicly discloses the existence of confidential documents but strictly controls access to them.
More information on how to have information treated confidentially is available here.
Can a whole matter be confidential?
A matter is the entire file including the application or appeal, evidence, recordings, or related documents.
Ordinarily matters are NOT considered to be confidential. The Board follows the "open courts" principle, which is an important part of Canada's constitutional framework. This means that the press and public can see the details of proceedings before the Board. This transparency helps ensure confidence in the legal system. A personal desire for privacy does NOT override the open courts principle.
The open courts concept allows for reasonable limits and some protections for confidential information. The following types of matters will generally NOT be publicly available due to the extensive amounts of personal information and the foreseeable negative impacts on one or more of the participants:
- Appeals relating to compensation for victims of crime.
- Applications for reinstatements of gaming establishments for those who previously voluntarily excluded themselves.
The Board may allow other types of matters to be held in confidence. For example:
- Where disclosure of some or all information may lead to harm of a party (e. g. spousal abuse or stalking situations, financial loss)
- Where the matter relates to security of sensitive facilities, equipment, or systems.
How to request a matter or information be kept in confidence:
There are formal Rules for requesting that a matter or information be kept in confidence. All Board Rules are available here.
- To keep an entire matter confidential you must provide the Board with a written request explaining why the matter should be treated confidentially. You must address the specific harm that will occur, if the matter is publicly disclosed
- To keep certain information confidential, you must provide the Board with:
- A written request explaining why it should be confidential including the specific harm that will occur if it is publicly disclosed;
- A copy of the document with the confidential information permanently redacted so it cannot be seen or retrieved; AND,
- A copy of the document with the confidential information highlighted in grey.
Personal discomfort or embarrassment is NOT sufficient grounds for keeping a matter or information confidential. There must be a reasonable expectation of actual harm should the information be disclosed.
Other parties in a proceeding will have access to the confidential information unless the Board directs otherwise.