Privacy and Access to Information About Criminal Proceedings

As a family member or friend of a victim of crime, accused or offender, you may be concerned about the loss of privacy you experience when, for example, information about the criminal proceedings are published on TV or radio or in a newspaper. 

However, openness and accessibility of the court process are important principles in our justice system. Only through an open and public process can the public have trust in the justice system and be satisfied parties are treated fairly. This means court hearings and records are generally open to the public.

If your family member or friend is a youth, then they are treated differently. See Youth Justice for more information.

What information government bodies can collect and who they can share it with is governed by provincial and federal laws. The provincial law is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The federal laws are the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA)

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) states that:

  • The public has a right to get information that has been gathered by public agencies
  • You have a right to get your personal information
  • You have a right to request that a correction be made to your personal information

In each of the above cases, there may be information that cannot be given. The “Exceptions” section (Part 2, Division 2) of the FOIPPA lists the reasons for any exceptions.

Making a Request

To make a request to obtain your personal information, including how to request a record or correction under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, visit: Ministry Citizens’ Services.

To obtain your information that is held by the federal government, see the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website.