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Manitoba Ombudsman adds 11 new investigation reports to website

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Apr 29, 2014

Manitoba Ombudsman has posted 11 new investigation reports on its website --  four under The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), three under The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA), and four under The Ombudsman Act.

Reports under FIPPA

Investigation reports can provide the public, public bodies and trustees greater insight into how Manitoba Ombudsman interprets and applies the provisions of FIPPA and PHIA, and resolves complaints.

The FIPPA reports posted today contain three refused access reports, and one report into an alleged privacy breach. "The case where Manitoba Public Insurance used an individual's personal information to create facial recognition templates, and later shared the individual's personal information with a federal agency for law enforcement purposes, is an interesting example of an authorized use and disclosure under FIPPA," said Acting Ombudsman Mel Holley. "It also illustrates that FIPPA applies in situations where records are created with new technologies, such as the facial recognition templates created by MPI from our driver's licence photos."

The following four investigation reports under FIPPA have been posted:

  • Manitoba Health - refusal of access to database records for research purposes on the basis that the patient-level information in the records was personal health information of third parties that could not be reasonably severed.
  • Manitoba Hydro - refusal to confirm or deny the existence of records related to the termination of an employee.
  • Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation - refusal of access to some of the information in reports related to inspection of the St. Jean Baptiste bridge on the basis that the information constituted advice and opinions developed for the public body.
  • Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation (MPI) - breach of privacy alleging that MPI did not have the legislative authority to disclose personal information related to the complainant's identity to the Canadian Border Services Agency.

The FIPPA reports are available at: http://www.ombudsman.mb.ca/documents_and_files/investigation-reports.html (under "Access Reports" or "Privacy Reports").

Reports under PHIA

This group of reports includes a follow up report on the efforts made by CancerCare Manitoba to improve privacy protections after a "snooping" case we reported in 2012 (PHIA Cases 2011-0513 and 2011-0514). "We are always pleased to give credit where it is due," said Holley. "And CancerCare has worked hard to implement our earlier recommendations."

The following three investigation reports under PHIA have been posted:

  • CancerCare Manitoba - CancerCare's response on implementation of the ombudsman's recommendations made in cases 2011-0513 and 2011-0514 (improper use of personal health information and security of personal health information).
  • Misericordia Health Centre and Misericordia Health Centre Foundation - disclosure of personal health information and the required notice of disclosure for fundraising purposes.
  • Winnipeg Regional Health Authority - improper use and disclosure of personal health information by an employee of the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre.

The PHIA reports are available at:

http://www.ombudsman.mb.ca/documents_and_files/investigation-reports-1.html

Reports under The Ombudsman Act

Ombudsman Act investigation reports can provide the public and organizations subject to The Ombudsman Act information about best practices in government administration.

"This group of reports includes our analysis and findings on a number of matters that are not only important to individual complainants, but also to the larger public," said Holley. "Issues such as the process for changing truck routes within the City of Winnipeg, and the transfer of responsibility for delinquent tenant water bills to landlords, are examples of issues that require a broader public policy discussion. Our reports can serve as a starting point for those discussions."

The following four investigation reports under The Ombudsman Act have been posted:

  • City of Winnipeg - concerns regarding the process used by the city to establish and alter truck routes.
  • City of Winnipeg - concerns about the practice of adding unpaid water bills of tenants to the property taxes of the landlord.
  • Lake Manitoba Financial Assistance Program and Flood Appeals Commission - denial of a disaster financial assistance application related to a groundwater well believed to be contaminated by the 2011 Lake Manitoba flood.
  • Selkirk and District Planning Area Board (now Red River Planning District) - revocation of a building permit after it was discovered the permit was issued in error, and after construction of the home began.

The Ombudsman Act reports are available at:

http://www.ombudsman.mb.ca/info/the-ombudsman-act.html (select either "Municipal Investigation Reports" or "Provincial Investigation Reports" on the left navigation menu)