Thursday, July 14, 2011

K-Bro Linen Systems Inc. v. British Columbia (Information and Privacy Commissioner) by Greg

In K-Bro Linen Systems Inc. v. British Columbia (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2011 BCSC 904, the petitioner service provider sought to quash an adjudicator's order that a contract including its third party commercial and financial information be disclosed to a FOI requester.

The adjudicator had determined:

  • that the information was not supplied in confidence since the contract was negotiated between the third party and the public body, and
  • that disclosure of the contract would not result in a reasonable prospect of harm.

The petitioner argued that the adjudicator failed to take into account its separate argument that the information constituted trade secrets, and erred in law in concluding the information was not supplied in confidence.

Bowden J. applied a reasonableness standard in reviewing the adjudicator's decision, and upheld the order that the information should be disclosed. In particular, Bowden J. held as follows at para. 46 as to the evidence supplied by the petitioner:

The affidavit of Ms. Linda McCurdy, which I was told was the only evidence presented to the Adjudicator by the petitioner, deals extensively with the concerns of the petitioner regarding the confidentiality of various parts of the Agreement but it does not address whether the Protected Information contained in the Agreement was or was not susceptible to negotiation. From my review of the redacted portions of the Agreement it is not apparent that any of them were not susceptible to change by negotiation. It may be that the petitioner was not prepared to negotiate all or part of what it described as its “service delivery model” or other aspects of the Agreement but there is no evidence to support that view.

Bowden J.'s decision does not look to represent any departure from well-established principles in analyzing third-party interests. However, it highlights the need for a third party to provide evidence meeting all elements of an exemption it seeks to have applied, not merely raising concerns related to confidentiality.

This blog consists of general legal information only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice to any person or organization. Please feel free to contact me at if you require legal advice related to privacy or access to information.

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