Decisions

The Information Commissioner publishes the final reports on her investigations on this Web site when she deems them to be of value in providing guidance to both institutions and complainants.

The Office of the Information Commissioner has established the Decisions Database to enable users to search final reports and other decisions, which outline the reasons and principles behind the Commissioner’s decisions and filter them using a number of criteria.

This database is updated regularly and will continue to grow as more final reports and decisions are added.

Other Corporate publications are available on the website.

Filters
Decision Type

96 decisions found

Jul 1
2022

Decision pursuant to 6.1, 2022 OIC 35

Institution
-
Section of the Act
6.1
Decision Type
6.1 decision
Summary

An institution submitted an application to the Information Commissioner, under subsection 6.1(1) of the Access to Information Act, for approval to decline to act on an access to information request. The institution submitted that the request is vexatious and constitutes an abuse of the right of access. The institution further submitted that it had met its duty to assist the requester in connection with the request.

The Information Commissioner found that the institution met its burden of establishing that the access request is an abuse of the right of access.  In particular, the Commissioner found that the request is part of a pattern of behaviour involving the requester’s repeated requests for substantively the same information. The Commissioner also noted that most of the information being sought has either been provided by the requester to the institution, or has already been provided to the requester by the institution. The Commissioner also found that the institution met its duty to assist obligations under subsection 4(2.1) prior to seeking approval to decline to act. Given the Commissioner’s conclusion, it was not necessary to further consider whether the request was also vexatious.

The application is granted.

Read more
Jun 22
2022

Notice: ceasing to investigate a complaint under subsection 30(5), 2022 OIC 27

Institution
-
Section of the Act
30
Decision Type
Notices under subsection 30(5)
Final report
Summary

The Information Commissioner of Canada gives notice under subsection 30(5) of the Access to Information Act that she has ceased to investigate complaint 5819-02602, pursuant to paragraph 30(4)(a). This paragraph allows the Commissioner to cease to investigate a complaint when, in her opinion, a complaint is trivial, frivolous or vexatious, or is made in bad faith.

The complainant indicated that they wanted to pursue the matter as a point of principle although the matter for which the information was sought has already been settled. The complainant’s seeming lack of interest in obtaining access to the records and their request to continue to investigate, solely on a matter of principle, makes the complaint trivial.

Read more
Jun 14
2022

Public Services and Procurement Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 29

Institution
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Section of the Act
9(1)
10(3)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) did not respond to an access request by the extended due date under subsection 9(1) of the Access to Information Act. The request was for all documents regarding the Copyright Media Clearance Program for the period January 1, 2018 to June 12, 2019. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(c) of the Act. PSPC had not responded to the access request when the extension of time expired on September 4, 2020. The issue of whether the extension of time was reasonable is moot.

The complaint is well founded.

The Information Commissioner ordered the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to provide a final response to the access request within 10 days after the day on which the order takes effect under paragraph 36.1(4)

PSPC gave notice that it would not be fully implementing the order.

Read more
Jun 14
2022

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Re), 2022 OIC 28

Institution
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Section of the Act
19(1)
23
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) did not conduct a reasonable search under the Access to Information Act when responding to an access request seeking records relating to the RCMP’s “E Norther” file.

The request identified the RCMP’s Legal Services Unit as potentially having records but the RCMP initially refused to task this area stating that responsive records would not be under its control. The investigation found that the records, if they existed, would likely be under the RCMP’s control for the purposes of the Act.

The Information Commissioner ordered the RCMP to confirm if additional records existed and, if so, to process these records in accordance with the Act.The RCMP gave notice to the Information Commissioner that records had been identified and that an additional response was sent to the complainant.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Jun 6
2022

Public Health Agency of Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 26

Institution
Public Health Agency of Canada
Section of the Act
9(1)
Decision Type
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the extension of time the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) took under subsection 9(1) of the Access to Information Act to respond to an access request was unreasonable. The request was for all correspondence, including emails, Microsoft (MS) Teams messages, texts and phone messages, sent and received by Iain Stewart, between June 14 and June 21, 2021. The requester also specified that they would not “re-scope or limit” their request.

PHAC notified the complainant that, pursuant to paragraphs 9(1)(a) and 9(1)(b), it would require an additional 1,950 days to complete the processing of the request.

PHAC demonstrated that the time extensions were necessary and for a reasonable period, given the circumstances.

The complaint is not well founded.

Read more
Jun 2
2022

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 25

Institution
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Section of the Act
20(1)(b)
20(1)(c)
20(1)(d)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has improperly withheld information under paragraph 20(1)(c) (financial impact on a third party) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for information related to the Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) program including the Total Repayment figures related to several projects.

The scope of the complaint was narrowed to information related to twenty-one (21) third parties.

Several third parties and ISED provided representations in support of the exemption. However, neither the third parties nor ISED demonstrated that the information at issue met all of the requirements of the exemption.

The Information Commissioner ordered ISED to disclose all information at issue.

ISED gave notice that it would implement the order.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
May 12
2022

Shared Services Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 24

Institution
Shared Services Canada
Section of the Act
6
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Shared Services Canada (SCC) has wrongfully refused to process an access request made under the Access to Information Act for records related to informal official language complaints.

SSC refused to process the access request as it did not believe it met the requirements of section 6 of the Act.

SSC asserted that responding to the access request as worded would require tasking every employee of the department to search for records, more than 8,300 individuals. In addition, the administrative burden placed on SSC to respond to the request would unreasonably conflict with core activities.  

The Information Commissioner did not agree, and ordered the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada to accept the access request as meeting the requirements of section 6 and to proceed accordingly.

SSC did not respond to the Commissioner’s initial report. It is therefore unknown whether SSC will implement the Commissioner’s order.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
May 6
2022

Public Services and Procurement Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 23

Institution
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Section of the Act
30(5)
Decision Type
Recommendation
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has failed to provide records in response to an access request made under the Access to Information Act, regarding Contract Number PWG560229 awarded on April 10, 2017 relating to Health Protection Building Demolition – Prime Consulting Services.

In response to the access request, PSPC indicated that it could not identify any relevant records, under its control. The investigation found that while the subcontracts and related records were not in PSPC’s physical possession, they were under its control for the purposes of the Act. Therefore, the records should have been retrieved and processed in accordance with the Act.

The Information Commissioner recommended that the records be retrieved and that a response be provided to the complainant.

PSPC gave notice to the Commissioner that it would not implement the recommendations.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
May 3
2022

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 22

Institution
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Section of the Act
20(1)(c)
Decision Type
Recommendation
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) had improperly withheld information under paragraph 20(1)(c) (financial impact on a third party) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for records related to job creation estimates and estimated jobs maintained figures for projects that received assistance during a specific time period between 2011 and 2018.

The scope of the complaint was narrowed to information related to eleven (11) third parties.

Only one of the third parties, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (Toyota), provided representations in support of the exemption. However, neither Toyota nor ISED demonstrated that the information at issue met all of the requirements of the exemption.

The Information Commissioner recommended that ISED disclose all information at issue.

ISED gave notice that it would not fully implement the recommendation and maintains that some information related to Toyota would continue to be withheld pursuant to paragraph 20(1)(c).

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Apr 26
2022

Access at issue: The challenge of accessing our collective memory

Institution
Library and Archives Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(f)
Decision Type
Systemic investigation
Summary

In January of 2021, the Information Commissioner initiated a systemic investigation into Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) delayed responses to access requests. This investigation was prompted by the Office of the Information Commissioner’s (OIC) investigations conducted over a number of years, resulting in findings that LAC was not responding to access requests by the legislative deadlines, a trend that worsened during the pandemic.

The complaint is well founded since the investigation found that for the period under investigation, almost 80% of the requests completed by LAC did not comply with the timeframes set out in the Act.

In January 2022, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, as head of LAC was informed of the Commissioner’s findings. A total of ten (10) recommendations were made to the Minister and a response to the Commissioner’s recommendations was received in February 2022.

In April 2022, the Commissioner tabled a special report in Parliament pursuant to paragraph 39(1) of the Act. The special report sheds light on issues within LAC and also draws Parliament’s attention to two broader challenges facing Canada’s access to information system:

  • the manner in which consultations on access requests are conducted between institutions; and
  • the lack of a Government-wide framework for the declassification of records.
Read more
Date modified:
Submit a complaint