Section 73 - Protection of Public Body from Legal Suit

Overview

Section 73 establishes that a public body, the head of a public body, an elected official of a public body or a person acting on behalf of the head or under the direction of the head is protected from liability for certain acts or omissions under the Act.

Section Reference

Section 73 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

No action lies and no proceeding may be brought against the government, a public body, the head of a public body, an elected official of a public body or any person acting on behalf of or under the direction of the head of a public body for damages resulting from,

  1. the disclosure, or failure to disclose, in good faith of all or part of a record under this Act or any consequences of that disclosure or failure to disclose, or,
  2. the failure to give any notice required under this Act if reasonable care is taken to give the required notice.

Interpretation

" No action lies and no proceeding may be brought"

These words mean that none of the individuals listed in the section is liable for damages where she or he has disclosed or failed to disclose information in good faith. In addition none of these individuals is liable for any consequences that flow from that disclosure or failure to disclose, nor for failure to give any notice required under the Act, if the individual used reasonable care to give notice.

"Liable" means bound or obliged in law or equity; responsible, answerable, chargeable, compellable to make compensation, satisfaction or restitution or bound to respond because a wrong has occurred [Black’s].

"Good faith" is an intangible quality encompassing honest belief, the absence of malice and the absence of design to defraud or take advantage of something [Black’s].

Although a public body may not be sued for the consequences of disclosure, failure to disclose or failure to give notice, a public body may still be sued for other reasons such as negligence.

Example

  • The Minister of Transportation receives a preliminary report that indicates a bridge may have structural problems. Pending further studies, the bridge is not repaired or replaced and the Minister, in good faith, does not disclose the information in the preliminary report. The bridge collapses and people are killed and injured. The victims and their families may have ground for suing the public body for failing to repair or replace the bridge, but there are no ground for suing the public body for failing to disclose the information.

Sectional Index of Commissioner's Orders

For orders organized by the Act's section numbers, Click here.

For a summary of Commissioner's orders and policy interpretation of key points, Click here.

Last updated: July 27, 2007