Applying to limit public access to sensitive filings.
All information you file with the Board during a hearing can be accessed by the public. If you want the Board to consider evidence but also want to limit public access to specific pieces of your information, you must apply to the Board for a confidentiality order. The Board will only consider limiting access if you are able to show that your information is sensitive and that making it public could cause specific harm.
Before you apply
Before applying for a confidentiality order, to have information you are filing protected (see Section 16.1 of the NEB Act), consider whether you could present it in a way that it does not include confidential details. This could mean filing a redacted copy of a document with certain portions, names, places, blacked out, or, for either written or oral evidence, that you provide general information rather than specific details that could be detrimental if released. The Board encourages full transparency in most instances.
Approval to protect information is not automatic. The Board will only grant a confidentiality order if you are able to meet the requirements of Section 16.1. Even when information is protected, other Parties in the hearing process may need to see it too. If required, the Board will decide what arrangements are appropriate, such as signing a confidentiality agreement or holding an oral hearing session with limited access (“in-camera”).
Types of information considered
Typically, the type of information that might be considered for non-public release would be information of a proprietary nature, where you or others could suffer personal harm or commercial losses if the information was made public. This is a special exception to the rule that all evidence should be available to the public.
How to apply
To apply to the Board to have the information you are filing protected, you should:
- File electronically ONLY the letter requesting confidentiality (using the Participation Portal or efiling system) under section 16.1, providing all the reasons why your information should be protected and how it fits under the provisions of section 16.1. See the Filing Manual guidance.
- Send the actual sensitive information or documents to the Board by fax or mail (paper copy). Mark them very clearly as “CONFIDENTIAL”.
- The Board will assess the request and if it does not decide the information should be protected, it will return it to you. If the Board decides to take measures to protect the information, it will send out a ruling with its decision and the next steps.
Note: When protected information needs to be considered during an NEB assessment process, other parties to the process may need to see it too. The Board will decide what arrangements are appropriate, such as signing a confidentiality agreement or holding an oral hearing session with limited access (“in-camera”).
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