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Yukon Victims of Crime Act amendments close access to information loophole

Records that might have been disclosed to alleged offenders through ATIPP will now be withheld
Amendment to the Yukon’s Victims of Crime Act affect what records will be disclosed through ATIPP. (Yukon News Files)

Earlier this month, the Yukon government made amendments to its Victims of Crime Act that will shield victims or alleged victims’ records that previously might’ve been disclosed, at least partially, through the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (ATIPP) Process.

“It does this by preventing offenders and alleged offenders from seeking access to personal information, such as records of the offender’s name, which would determine if victims of their crime are accessing services or support from Victim Services. Changes to the act align with Victim Services’ ongoing efforts to improve client services, including protecting client safety,” a territorial government statement reads. The statement was released after the changes to the act received assent in the Yukon legislature.

A Yukon Department of Justice representative clarified that the amendments to the act prevent the release of any protected information to anyone except the victim or alleged victim themselves, including confirmation that records exist. Previously, the representative said there was a “grey area” for victims of crime. This was because ATIPP requests could be launched by an alleged offender seeking personal information, including “another individual’s opinion or view about them.”

“This could inadvertently allow an offender, alleged offender or other person to request any information recorded in Victim Services files that mentioned them, even if that was in the record of a victim,” the Department of Justice representative wrote in a Nov. 14 email to the News.

“While the victim’s personal information would be redacted, providing these records as part of an access request could confirm that a victim had sought supports and services. The amendments ensure that this information is protected.”

The act states that public institutions must not disclose protected information to any other person unless they are satisfied that the disclosure of information will not cause harm to the victim.

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Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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