We have received your request for access to personal information held by the Ursulines of Québec, in connection with the history you are writing of the fire that destroyed the Charlestown convent.
After examining your request and taking into consideration section 21 of the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot authorize you to obtain any personal information from the archives of the Ursulines. Section 21 stipulates:
21. The Commission d’accès à l’information, established by section 103 of the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information (chapter A-2.1) may, on written request, grant a person authorization to receive communication of personal information for study, research or statistical purposes, without the consent of the persons concerned, if it is of the opinion that
- the intended use is not frivolous and the ends contemplated cannot be achieved unless the information is communicated in a form allowing the persons to be identified;
- the information will be used in a manner that will ensure its confidentiality.
Such authorization is granted for the period and on the conditions fixed by the Commission. It may be revoked before the expiry of the period for which it is granted if the Commission has reasons to believe that the person authorized does not respect the confidentiality of the information communicated to him or does not respect the other conditions.
Since your ultimate aim in doing this research is to publish a book that will contain, among other things, specific reference to the nuns who were involved in the convent established in the Boston region, it is impossible to consider that the information to which you will have access "will be used in a manner that will ensure its confidentiality." Consequently, we cannot comply with your request.
Acting Director of Analysis and Evaluation