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Manitoba Ombudsman Releases FIPPA Investigation Report With a Recommendation to Manitoba Health

Manitoba Ombudsman Releases FIPPA Investigation Report With a Recommendation to Manitoba Health

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Published by Tessa Vanderhart

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Published by: Tessa Vanderhart on Apr 26, 2012
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04/26/2012

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REPORT WITH RECOMMENDATION ISSUED ON FEBRUARY 1, 2012ANDRESPONSE TO THE RECOMMENDATION ISSUED ON APRIL 11, 2012UNDER 
THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT 
CASES 2008-0001 and 2008-0481MANITOBA HEALTHACCESS COMPLAINTS: REFUSAL OF ACCESSPROVISIONS CONSIDERED: 18(1)(c)(i), 23(1)(a) and (b) and 28(1)(c)(iii)PUBLICLY RELEASED ON APRIL 26, 2012SUMMARY OF REPORT WITH RECOMMENDATION AND RESPONSE
The complainants requested access to
The Report of the Manitoba Chiropractic Health CareCommission
.
 
Complaints were made to the Ombudsman after Manitoba Health refused access tothe entire report. The Ombudsman found that the exceptions did not apply to all of theinformation in the report and he recommended that portions of the report be released to thecomplainants.Manitoba Health initially accepted the recommendation in part. After further communicationwith our office, Manitoba Health subsequently agreed to the release of all of the information towhich the recommendation was applicable.
 
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REPORT WITH RECOMMENDATION UNDER 
THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT 
CASES 2008-0001 and 2008-0481MANITOBA HEALTHACCESS COMPLAINTS: REFUSAL OF ACCESSPROVISIONS CONSIDERED: 18(1)(c)(i), 23(1)(a) and (b) and 28(1)(c)(iii)REPORT WITH RECOMMENDATION ISSUED ON February 1, 2012SUMMARY: The complainants requested access to
The Report of the ManitobaChiropractic Health Care Commission
. Access to this record was refused onthe basis that disclosure would be harmful to a third party's businessinterests, that disclosure could reveal advice to a public body and thatdisclosure could harm the economic or financial interests or negotiatingposition of a public body. During our investigation, the public body agreed torelease a severed copy of the report. The Ombudsman found that theexceptions did not apply to all of the remaining withheld information in thereport. The Ombudsman recommended release of portions of the
 
information contained in the record.THE COMPLAINTS
The complainants requested the following information under 
The Freedom of Information and 
 
 Protection of Privacy Act 
(FIPPA) on November 29, 2007 and August 12, 2008:
The Report of the Manitoba Health Care Chiropractic Commission - 2004.
Manitoba Health sent the complainants response letters dated December 19, 2007 and September 11, 2008 advising that access was refused under the following exceptions to disclosure:
 Advice to a public body23(1)
The head of a public body may refuse to disclose information to an applicant if disclosure could reasonably be expected to reveal (a) advice, opinions, proposals, recommendations, analyses or policy optionsdeveloped by or for the public body or a minister;
 
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(b) consultations or deliberations involving officers or employees of the publicbody or a minister.
On January 2, 2008 and October 3, 2008, the complainants filed complaints with theOmbudsman's office regarding Manitoba Health's decision to refuse access.
POSITION OF MANITOBA HEALTH
Manitoba Health's initial position was that the content of the report was used for discussion purposes and that it was not compiled into a final document for dissemination purposes.Disclosure of the report, either in whole or in part, would have negative and unintended impactson the decision making processes related to chiropractic health care service delivery in Manitobaand the department's relations with the Manitoba Chiropractic Association. Clauses 23(1)(a) and(b) were applied to the opinions, consultations and deliberations.Additionally, Manitoba Health later advised the complainants that its decision to refuse accesswas also based on exceptions to disclosure contained in clauses 18(1)(c)(ii) and 28(1)(c)(iii):
 Disclosure harmful to a third party's business interests18(1)
The head of a public body shall refuse to disclose to an applicant informationthat would reveal (c) commercial, financial, labour relations, scientific or technical information thedisclosure of which could reasonably be expected to(i) harm the competitive position of a third party.
 Disclosure harmful to economic and other interests of a public body28(1)
The head of a public body may refuse to disclose information to an applicant if disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the economic or financial interests or negotiating position of a public body or the Government of Manitoba, including the following information(c) information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to(iii) interfere with or prejudice contractual or other negotiations of,a public body or the Government of Manitoba.
Relative to the application of clauses 18(1)(c)(i) and 28(1)(c)(iii) regarding harm, ManitobaHealth stated that disclosure would result in discord, disruption and damage between itself andthe Manitoba Chiropractic Association as well as have a deleterious effect on their negotiation processes and relationship.

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