Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Access to Information

I want to obtain information about the latest public sector program, how do I make an access request?  How long do I have to wait for the information?

You first need to fill out an Access to Information Request form, found on our website ( and submit it to the appropriate public body:

·    Requests to Provincial Government Institutions:  send the request to the appropriate office in the ministry you are seeking information from. A complete list of access and privacy offices for each provincial government institution can be found at:, or you can contact the Access and Privacy Branch within the Ministry of Justice at 306-787-5473 or

·    Requests to a local authority (i.e. health regions, school divisions, cities or towns): send the request to the head office of each institution so that the request can be forwarded to the appropriate team or individual. If you are still unsure of where to send your request, you may contact our office and we can point you in the right direction.

Once the public body has received your request it has 30 days to respond.  If your request is for a large amount of records, or requires a substantial amount of time to process, the public body may extend your request an additional 30 days; you should be provided with notice from the public body of any extension of time needed.

For your information, access to information does not require the public body to answer questions or create new records that do not already exist at the time the access request is made.

For more information on how to submit an Access to Information Request, please visit the resources page on our website:

I asked my doctor for my medical record; however they have yet to provide it to me.  What should I do?

You can make your request for your medical record verbally.  However if you are having issues receiving your medical record, we recommend making a written request or submitting a formal Access to Information Request form available on the Forms tab on our website.

If you have made a formal request and it has been 30 days or more without a response, attempt to contact the public body or trustee to whom you made your request. If that is unsuccessful, please contact our office for a follow-up: 306-787-8350 or 1-877-748-2298. 

I am a small public body and I have received my first freedom of information request or privacy complaint ever!  Where can I find help?

Receiving your first formal request or privacy complaint can be overwhelming.  Certainly you may contact our office at 306-787-8350 or 1-877-748-2298 for assistance or by taking a look at the Resources on our website:

The Access and Privacy Branch of the Ministry of Justice can also help.  The Access and Privacy Branch: 

·    Plays a leadership role on access and privacy in government;

·    Provides or supports training and awareness of access and privacy within government and local authorities; and

·    Provides privacy and access officers in government and local authorities with tools (e.g. guidelines, checklists, etc.), to help with compliance and consistency.

To learn more about the Access and Privacy Branch visit:  You can also contact 306-787-5473 or

Protection of Privacy

I recently discovered a coworker has been viewing patient records without any need-to-know; who would I report this to?

If you suspect or have proof that a coworker has been viewing patient records without any need-to-know, see what your internal policies and procedures say regarding reporting such incidents. If you are not sure, speak to your supervisor or Privacy Officer to learn the proper procedure.  For more information on responding to privacy breaches, please refer to our website:

I feel my privacy has been breached and I would like your office to look into it because I don’t feel that the public body will thoroughly investigate the breach.

The Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner is an office of last resort and our office would not normally become involved with a breach of privacy complaint until the public body first has the opportunity to investigate.  Public bodies must comply with the access and privacy legislation to which they are subject.  Once the internal investigation is complete, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, you may contact our office. 

If you would like our office to look into a privacy matter, please include a copy of the written complaint you made to the public body and the response you received from the public body. 

If you feel the breach was extremely egregious or harmful, you may wish to contact our office first at 306-787-8350 or 1-877-748-2298 to discuss.

I work in the public sector; why is my salary not considered my personal information?

When you work for a public body where your salary is paid with tax-payer dollars, there is a legal responsibility of the public body to make public expenditures more transparent. Under subsection 24(2)(a) of The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) and subsection 23(2)(a) of The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (LA FOIP) “salary” of employees is not considered personal information. For more information on this topic, please refer to our blog, “When Salary is Open to Public Scrutiny.”

I work in the public sector, and there has been an access request for information which is contained in my work emails.  Is it a breach of my privacy to release information from my email?

This is one of those questions that begins with, “that depends”. It depends on the email itself—was it sent from your work email? Who is the email to? What is the content of the email? Review Report 096-2015 and 097-2015 are very good examples of how emails in possession of a public body are not the property of that public body.

Just because you are emailing your spouse or family members from your work email does not mean that those emails would be considered releasable.  If it is an email from one coworker to another, discussing only their weekend plans—then that email may not be considered releasable.  However, if you are emailing your coworker to complain about a client, that may be considered releasable.  If the content of emails constitutes work product, no privacy interests are engaged.

To protect yourself, send personal emails from your personal email account and work related emails from your work account.

I am concerned that my family doctor breached my privacy.  How do I make a complaint?

If you feel that your personal health information has been breached (improperly collected, used, disclosed or disposed of) by your doctor, first make your complaint in writing to your family doctor as he/she is most likely a trustee of your personal health information under The Health Information Protection Act (HIPA).  Be sure to outline the reason you believe your privacy was breached and include evidence or proof you have that the breach occurred.  Keep a copy of the written complaint.  You should allow the doctor around 30 days to respond to you. 

If you do not receive a response or are not satisfied by the response you receive, forward your concern to the appropriate regulatory body and make a formal complaint using their processes.  In the case of a family doctor, that would be the College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Include as background the original complaint and response you received from your doctor.

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the College, you can then bring your complaint to our office.  We will require the complaint to be in writing.  We will also ask for the background information you have on the complaint, such as the original complaint made to the Doctor and College and any responses you received back.

If you feel the breach was extremely egregious or harmful, you may wish to contact our office first at 306-787-8350 or 1-877-748-2298 to discuss.

I work in a special care home.  I am worried about the families of my patients secretly taping me at work.  Are they allowed to do that?

The laws that this office oversees only apply to organizations and their employees, not individuals.  This office does not have the power to force an individual to stop recording or investigate after the fact.

Nevertheless, if the special care home is a trustee for the purposes of The Health Information Protection Act, it does have a duty to protect the personal health information of those in its care.  If family members are making recordings it may compromise the privacy of its patients.  First discuss the issue with your supervisor who can determine whether the organization is a trustee and can do anything to safeguard personal health information.
General / Non-Jurisdictional

If you can’t help me, who can?

Our office is the oversight body for three Saskatchewan laws: The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and The Health Information Protection Act.  If you do not have an access or privacy issue that falls under one of those three statutes, there are other oversight bodies available to assist with any other concerns you may be facing:

·    Saskatchewan Ombudsman: takes complaints about government services that include decisions/actions, failure to act and a delay in service. 

·    The Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner: deals with issues, receives disclosures and investigates matters surrounding complaints of wrongdoings made by public servants against his or her employer under The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA).

·    The Provincial Auditor: Provides independent assurance and advice on the Government’s management, governance, and effective use of public resources.

·    The Privacy Commissioner of Canada: deals with privacy issues related to the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

·     The Information Commissioner of Canada: investigate complaints about federal institutions’ handling of access requests under the Access to Information Act.

·    Health Professional Associations:  If you have a concern about a regulated health professional you should contact the appropriate Health Professional Association to learn the appropriate steps for you to take to make a complaint.

I work for a privately-owned business in Saskatchewan and my employer is refusing me access to my personnel file.

There is very limited access to information and privacy protection laws in Saskatchewan that extends to employees of private businesses owned and operated in Saskatchewan.  If you work for an employer of privately-owned business that is also listed as a trustee under The Health Information Protection (HIPA) your personal health information within your employee file would most likely be protected under HIPA. 

If you are an employee in federal works, undertakings or businesses in Saskatchewan you may be covered under the federal law the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).  To learn more about the application of PIPEDA, read this Fact Sheet on the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s website.

Unfortunately, these two laws would not apply to the majority of private sector employees.  In order for access and privacy law to apply to employees of the private sector in Saskatchewan, new legislation would need to be enacted to cover private sector employees as has been done in B.C. and Alberta.

You may wish to contact the Human Resources area of your company to see if there are any written policies in place for access to your personnel or employee file.  In addition, you can learn more about employee rights in Saskatchewan at

Do the police fall under access and privacy legislation?

Municipal police services are not subject to Saskatchewan’s access and privacy legislation.  To inquire about accessing records from a municipal police service or about their privacy practices, contact the specific police service directly to see if they can assist you.  Here you will find a List of Municipal Police Services in Saskatchewan.

The RCMP is subject to the federal Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.  Please visit the RCMP’s Access to Information and Privacy Branch website to learn more.  The oversight bodies for the federal legislation are the Information Commissioner of Canada and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Web Site last updated August 05, 2015


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