Manitoba Ombudsman releases FIPPA investigation report about WRHA personal care home standards inspection reportsReturn to listing
Dec 18, 2020
Manitoba Ombudsman has released an investigation report under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) about Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) personal care home standards inspection reports.
FIPPA gives individuals the legal right to access records held by Manitoba public bodies, subject to certain exceptions. In this case, the WRHA received a request for personal care home standards inspection reports for a five-year period. The WRHA granted access to some of the requested reports, but refused access to seven reports on the basis that disclosure would harm the business interests of third-party personal care home operators or owners.
FIPPA also gives individuals the right to complain to the ombudsman for a number of reasons, including when access to all or part of the requested record(s) has been denied. In this case, the individual made a complaint to our office about the WRHA’s refusal of access to seven inspection reports.
As part of our investigation into this complaint, our office reviewed the reports in question. We determined that information in the withheld reports was not commercial information supplied by a third party on a confidential basis to the WRHA and treated consistently as confidential by the third party. As a result, the FIPPA exception cited by the WRHA to refuse access did not apply in this case. We provided our analysis and conclusion to the WRHA to review and consider.
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living (HSAL), which conducts personal care home standards inspections and prepares the reports, decided to publicly post these reports online by proactive disclosure. The WRHA advised our office that it was giving the individual access to the seven reports at issue in this complaint on the basis that these reports will be made publicly available by HSAL within 90 days.
“Making these inspection reports available to everyone means that others will not have to make a request under FIPPA to read them,” said Ombudsman Jill Perron. “Proactive disclosure, particularly when information is of interest to the broader public, is an important measure that all public bodies can take to enhance transparency and accountability.”
As our office found that the personal care home standards inspection reports were not subject to the FIPPA exception cited by the WRHA, the complaint is supported. Given that the WRHA has released the remaining reports in full to the complainant, no further action is required.
Our investigation report is available at https://www.ombudsman.mb.ca/uploads/document/files/case-2020-0645-en.pdf