MANDATE

The Office of the Commissioner was created to oversee the application of rules governing access to information and the protection of privacy in the public and health care sectors. These rules have been codified in two statutes that came into effect on September 1, 2010: the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act.

The Commissioner is a statutory officer of the Legislative Assembly and is independent of government.

The Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act grants members of the public a general right to access information, including your own personal information, held by provincial public bodies. This legislation also establishes rules for provincial public bodies about the collection, use, disclosure and protection of personal information.

The Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act regulates the handling of personal health information in New Brunswick’s health care sector. This statute sets out rules for all aspects of the handling of personal health information, from collection, use and disclosure to secure storage and destruction by all health care providers. This legislation also gives individuals the right to request and receive a copy of their own personal health information from their health care providers.

The Commissioner’s Office conducts independent and confidential investigations to ensure that access and privacy rights under these two laws are being upheld and respected. In conducting investigations under either law, we first seek to resolve matters informally with the parties concerned whenever possible. If we are unable to resolve a matter informally and our investigation shows that the law was not followed, both acts allow our Office to make a recommendation to correct the situation.

In addition to the investigative powers, the Commissioner has the mandate to inform and educate the public about the acts. The Commissioner also provides input and feedback to the public and health care sectors about the administration of these laws.