ARCHIVED - Ministerial Directive concerning the handling of personal information under the control of the DND/CF in the context of Ombudsman investigations

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  1. The Ombudsman is appointed pursuant to Section 5 of the National Defence Act to carry out certain duties and functions on behalf of the Minister of National Defence. Those specific duties and functions are set out in paragraph 3 of the Ministerial Directives
  2. The Ombudsman and/or his delegates can request documents and information, required for purposes of an Ombudsman investigation, including personal information, directly from individuals within DND/CF without making requests through the Access to Information and Privacy Acts and without the response to those requests being processed under those Acts. 
  3. If personal information collected by DND/CF is required by the Ombudsman in order to carry out an investigation, it is acknowledged that for the purposes of the Privacy Act, an Ombudsman’s investigation represents a consistent use for which the personal information was obtained or compiled by the DND/CF as contemplated by s.7(a) of the Privacy Act
  4. The Ombudsman’s Office will request in writing, with sufficient detail, the information and documents required, directly from the person having custody of the documents. The request will set out that it is for the purposes of an investigation and set out why the information and documents requested are required for the investigation. The individual within DND/CF receiving the request for information shall forthwith respond to the Ombudsman’s Office by collecting all of the requested documents and information for the purposes of an initial ‘on-site’ review by Ombudsman staff. The purpose of the review will be for Ombudsman staff to identify which documents are required for the investigation. It is understood that making copies of materials or transcription of materials during the on-site review is not permitted. 
  5. After the initial on-site review, those having custody of the documents and information at DND/CF will review the documents and may sever such personal information from the documents which they believe does not relate to the investigation, and will provide the documents which have been severed to Ombudsman staff within 14 working days after being identified as required by Ombudsman staff for the purposes of an investigation. The custodians may consult with relevant experts within DND/CF, including DAIP, if they require assistance and guidance. 
  6. If the custodians of the documents identify any personal information which they believe must be severed from the required documents before they are provided to the Ombudsman’s Office, a general description of the type of information severed from the documents must be provided, along with the reasons why that information has been removed. 
  7. If Ombudsman staff is unsure that personal information severed was properly removed, or if they are of the opinion that the severed information is required for the investigation, they will contact DAIP for an opportunity to review the severed information. Once Ombudsman staff has reviewed the documents, if they remain of the opinion that the severed information is required for the purposes of the investigation, they will provide reasons to DAIP why the information is required.
  8. If DAIP agrees with the Ombudsman staff’s submissions, they will provide the severed information forthwith. If DAIP disagrees with the Ombudsman staff’s assessment of the information as being required for the purposes of the investigation, DAIP will report in writing to the Ombudsman within 14 working days. The report will state specifically what type of information has been removed and/or held back and the reasons they disagree with the Ombudsman staff. This will allow the Ombudsman to assess whether this severed information is in fact required for the purposes of the investigation. Thereafter, the Ombudsman can determine what further action is appropriate under his mandate. 
  9. When the Ombudsman has the consent of the complainant to view his or her personal information, Ombudsman staff may obtain his or her medical, personal, and dental files. Also, the Ombudsman can access any other files in which all the personal information is the personal information of the complaintant only, directly from the DND/CF, without the need for a thorough review under the process described in this Directive.

[original signed by]

The Honourable William Graham, P.C., Q.C., M.P.

Date: NOV 28 2005

Date modified: