This case was heard in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
In 1996, the Province of Nova Scotia negotiated an agreement with a number of companies to build a toll highway. Relying on Nova Scotia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and the Daily News applied to see copies of the agreement that the Province had negotiated with the companies. Although the Province was willing to disclose the agreement, the companies were not, and the companies appealed the Province’s decision to make the agreement public. After evaluating the purposes of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act—which include facilitating “informed public participation in policy formulation” and ensuring “fairness in government decision making”—the Court held that the Act prioritizes “the right of citizens to be informed of the use of public funds.” In the Court’s view, the companies had not proved that disclosing the agreement would harm their business interests, and so the companies’ appeal was dismissed.