Decisions

Type

137 decisions found

Dec 16
2020

Final report (5820-00645): Canadian Heritage

Institution
Canadian Heritage
Section of the Act
30(1)(f)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The Information Commissioner initiated a complaint against the Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) based on reports that the institution had suspended its processing of access requests as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigation found that between March 16, 2020 and July 10, 2020, PCH’s Access to Information and Privacy Secretariat was not granted access to its work premises and was unable to access its departmental network remotely. This created a backlog of 224 access requests.

The complaint is well founded as PCH’s failure to respond to the 224 access requests was not based on any of the specified circumstances set out in subsection 9(1) and effectively breached the requesters’ quasi-constitutional rights of access under the Act.

The Commissioner made six recommendations to the Minister of Canadian Heritage who agreed to take corrective measures to ensure that PCH is fully meeting its obligations under the Act.

Read more
Nov 9
2020

Privy Council Office (Re), 2020 OIC 14

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. The access request consisted of minutes of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 1962. PCO claimed an extension of time to respond to the access request, in part to conduct consultations with other government institutions. PCO sent a letter informing the complainant that it would not be processing the access request because it had not received recommendations from other government institutions, and closed the file, according to its “no late file” policy.

The Act does not authorize PCO to fail to respond to an access request on the grounds that it has yet to receive recommendations from consulted institutions. The Office of the Information Commissioner concludes that PCO was in deemed refusal pursuant to subsection 10(3) of the Act.

The Information Commissioner recommended that the Clerk of the Privy Council take the necessary steps to respond to the access request by November 16, 2020 and revoke or revise its current policy so that the processing of all requests are in accordance with its obligations under the Act. PCO did not agree to the November 16, 2020 response date, but committed to responding by December 17, 2020. PCO confirmed that it had revoked its “no late file” policy.

The complaint is well founded. PCO has respected its commitment.

Read more
Nov 9
2020

Privy Council Office (Re), 2020 OIC 13

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. The access request consisted of minutes of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 1968. PCO claimed an extension of time to respond to the access request, in part to conduct consultations with other government institutions. When the consulted institutions did not respond before the deadline, PCO sent a letter informing the complainant that it would not be processing the access request because it had not received recommendations from other government institutions, and closed the file, according to its “no late file” policy.

The Act does not authorize PCO to fail to respond to an access request on the grounds that it has yet to receive recommendations from consulted institutions. The Office of the Information Commissioner concludes that PCO was in deemed refusal pursuant to subsection 10(3) of the Act.

The Information Commissioner recommended that the Clerk of the Privy Council take the necessary steps to respond to the access request by November 16, 2020 and revoke or revise its current policy so that the processing of all requests are in accordance with its obligations under the Act. PCO did not agree to the November 16, 2020 response date, but committed to responding by December 17, 2020. PCO confirmed that it had revoked its “no late file” policy.

The complaint is well founded. PCO has respected its commitment.

Read more
Nov 9
2020

Privy Council Office (Re), 2020 OIC 12

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. The access request consisted of minutes of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 1971. PCO claimed an extension of time to respond to the access request, in part to conduct consultations with other government institutions. When the consulted institutions did not respond before the deadline, PCO sent a letter informing the complainant that it would not be processing the access request because it had not received recommendations from other government institutions, and closed the file, according to its “no late file” policy.

The Act does not authorize PCO to fail to respond to an access request on the grounds that it has yet to receive recommendations from consulted institutions. The Office of the Information Commissioner concludes that PCO was in deemed refusal pursuant to subsection 10(3) of the Act.

The Information Commissioner recommended that the Clerk of the Privy Council take the necessary steps to respond to the access request by November 16, 2020 and revoke or revise its current policy so that the processing of all requests are in accordance with its obligations under the Act. PCO agreed to implement both recommendations.

The complaint is well founded. PCO has since responded to the access request.

Read more
Oct 16
2020

Final report (5819-03082): Health Canada

Institution
Health Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
30(1)(f)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

A complainant alleged that Health Canada had failed to identify all records responsive to a request under the Access to Information Act and ought to have also produced an index of all responsive records. The investigation showed that Health Canada had conducted a reasonable search for responsive records and there was no evidence of missing records. It was also determined that Health Canada’s refusal to provide the complainant with an index of all responsive records did not contravene its duty to assist obligations under subsection 4(2.1), as the creation of an index, with respect to this particular request, would have been unreasonable. The complaint is not well-founded.

Read more
Oct 14
2020

Privy Council Office (Re), 2020 OIC 11

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. The access request consisted of minutes of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 1957 to 1958. PCO claimed an extension of time to respond to the access request, in part to conduct consultations with other government institutions. When the consulted institutions did not respond before the deadline, PCO sent a letter informing the complainant that it would not be processing the access request because it had not received recommendations from other government institutions, and closed the file, according to its “no late file” policy.

 The Act does not authorize PCO to fail to respond to an access request on the grounds that it has yet to receive recommendations from consulted institutions. The Office of the Information Commissioner concludes that PCO was in deemed refusal pursuant to subsection 10(3) of the Act.

The Information Commissioner recommended that the Clerk of the Privy Council take the necessary steps to respond to the access request by October 31, 2020 and revoke or revise PCO’s current policy so that the processing of all requests are in accordance with its obligations under the Act. PCO did not respond to the Commissioner’s recommendations.

 The complaint is well founded. At the time that this report was published, PCO had still not responded to the access request.

Read more
Oct 14
2020

Final report (3218-01589): Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Institution
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Section of the Act
30(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The systemic investigation focused on how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) carried out its duty to provide timely responses to access to information requests between 2016-2017 and 2018-2019.

The RCMP contended that access to information in the Public Safety portfolio is complex and differs from other parts of the public service on the basis that it relates to sensitive investigative information and matters before the courts.

The investigation allowed the Information Commissioner to identify various issues. She shared her findings, and made 15 recommendations in six different areas. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness ignored most of the recommendations and failed to provide any explanation as to why the failings identified within RCMP operations would not be addressed. Furthermore, alternate solutions or measures that could remediate the RCMP’s ability to provide timely responses to access requests were not provided.

The Minister’s response falls short on many fronts in terms of what Canadians expect. Despite a dire situation, it would appear that the Minister has accepted the status quo.

The Information Commissioner tabled a special report to Parliament to highlight the issues raised.

Read more
Sep 11
2020

Final report (3218-00618): Privy Council Office

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. PCO is therefore deemed to have refused to give access to records requested.

As a result of a complaint submitted to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) of Canada, the Information Commissioner recommended that PCO provide a final response to the request no later than June 1, 2020. PCO did not provide a final reponse by June 1, 2020. PCO did not indicate when it would be able to respond to the request, citing outstanding consultations with other provincial and federal departments, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operations.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Aug 10
2020

Final report (5820-00460): Department of Justice Canada

Institution
Justice Canada
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Department of Justice Canada (Justice) missed the deadline for responding to a request under the Access to Information Act. On October 31, 2019, upon completion an investigation, the Information Commissioner sent Justice a recommendation to respond to the request by December 15, 2019. Justice did not accept the recommendation, but committed to have the records disclosed by April 27, 2020. The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) complaint file was therefore closed on the basis of this commitment disclosure date.  When Justice failed to respond to the request by April 27, 2020, the OIC received the current complaint regarding the ongoing refusal of access. Pursuant to subsection 10(3) of the Act, when an institution fails to give access to a record requested, or a part thereof, within the time limits set out in the Act, the head of the institution is “deemed” to have refused to give access. The complaint is well founded. The Information Commissioner ordered Justice to respond to the access request by September 30, 2020.

Read more
Jul 22
2020

Access at issue: Nine recommendations regarding the processing of access requests at National Defence

Institution
National Defence
Section of the Act
30(1)(f)
Decision Type
systemic investigation
Summary

The investigation focused on the six offices of primary interest (OPIs) most frequently tasked with responding to access to information requests for the Department of National Defence (DND) between January 1, 2017 and December 21, 2018.

Over the course of several months, OIC officials interviewed the six OPIs and DND's Directorate of Access to Information and Privacy (DAIP) to better understand how DND responds to access to information requests. DND shared various internal tasking documents, manuals, processes and procedural guides, training materials, statistics and dashboard information regarding DND Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) compliance.

Based on this information, the Commissioner identified issues and shared her findings with the Minister of National Defence, who agreed that significant improvements were needed to ensure that the institution was fully meeting its obligations under the Act. In order to remedy existing shortcomings, DND proposed several improvements which were then either accepted or built upon by the Commissioner. In January 2020, the Commissioner issued her recommendations to the Minister of National Defence who agreed to take corrective actions.

Read more
Date modified:
Submit a complaint