There is always a struggle between the concepts of privacy and confidentiality on one hand, and transparency and freedom on the other. Dan Michaluk has a case comment in his All About Information blog discussing a recent Ontario decision that sided with the LCBO in its denial to release certain documents under a freedom of information request. (For those of you outside of Ontario, the LCBO is the Ontario government corporation that runs liquor stores. It is thus is subject to typical freedom of information legislation that allows anyone to request to see documents subject to certain exceptions.)
The court said that the LCBO did not have to release certain documents relating to a dispute it settled with a winery, based on solicitor client privilege.
The court took a broad view of solicitor-client privilege and its treatment under the FIPPA freedom of information legislation, stating that:
“… no party would willingly entertain settlement discussions with a government institution if it knew its confidential settlement discussions would be made public.”
I can’t argue with that.