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ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND PRIVACY - Legislation - Provincial and territorial - Standing

Tuesday, January 07, 2020 @ 6:27 AM  

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Appeal by Bay Ferries from the dismissal of its motion for summary dismissal of the respondent’s appeal of the Province’s decision that declined a disclosure of information request. The Province and the appellant contracted for the appellant to provide ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine. The contract stipulated the management fee to be paid to the appellant. The management fee was redacted from the publicly released information. The Research Director of the Progressive Conservative Caucus of Nova Scotia, the Official Opposition, requested information on the management fee. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP) Review Officer recommended disclosure of the information. After the Province declined disclosure, the “Progressive Conservative Caucus of Nova Scotia” appealed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. In response to the appellant’s motion for dismissal on the basis the Caucus had no legal status, the Caucus moved to amend the style of cause to name its leader, Houston. The motions judge allowed the amendment.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The motions judge did not err in drawing an inference that the Research Director was authorized in writing, on behalf of the leader of the Caucus, to request the information. There was ample evidence to support the motion judge’s finding the Caucus was the true beneficial applicant for the information and the Research Director was the nominal applicant. Section 41(1) of the FOIPOP incorporated the processes under the Civil Procedure Rules. The motion judge’s exercise of discretion to add Houston as an appellant under Rules 35.06, 35,08 and 83.11 was not an error in law and did not lead to a patent injustice. The addition of Houston did not prejudice the appellant. His presence would not affect the merits of the disclosure issues to be determined in the appeal. No limitation period was abrogated.

Bay Ferries Ltd. v. Houston, [2019] N.S.J. No. 475, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, D.R. Beveridge, J.E. Fichaud and P. Bryson JJ.A., November 13, 2019. Digest No. TLD-January62020003