Environment and Climate Change Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 50
OIC file number: 5820-01102
Institution file number: A-2020-00324
The complainant alleged that Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) had improperly excluded information pursuant to paragraph 68(a) (material available for purchase) of the Access to Information Act. This was in response to an access request for real-time and archived weather radar data. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.
ECCC showed that the information was available for purchase through a cost-recovery system. As a result, the Act does not apply.
The complaint is not well founded.
 The complainant alleged that Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) had improperly excluded information pursuant to paragraph 68(a) (material available for purchase) of the Access to Information Act. This was in response to an access request for real-time and archived weather radar data. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.
 In response to the access request, ECCC informed the complainant that access to weather data is provided as a cost-recovered service, owing to the costs involved in retrieving and preparing data sets. As a result, the information requested was entirely excluded from the application of the Act as material available for purchase.
Paragraph 68(a): material available for purchase
 Under section 68, the right to access records under Part 1 of the Act does not apply to material for sale to the public.
Does the information meet the requirements of the exclusion?
 The access request sought the full weather radar scans in real time as well as the long-term archives of this data in IRIS and ODIM H5 formats.
 Canada’s radar network is composed of 31 sites concentrated in the most populated parts of Canada, and provides coverage to more than 95 percent of Canadians.
 The costs associated with the dedicated live data feed with 24/7 support include a one-time $2000 set-up fee, and depending on the radar data package chosen, $19,200 - $24,000 per year to access ongoing real-time data.
 Regardless of whether the real time data is available for purchase, ongoing, real-time data would not fall within the scope of an access request as the information requested must have already been created, and be under the control of a government institution, at the time the request is made.
 However, ECCC does have archived weather data under its control which is also offered through a cost-recovery system. The costs depend on the radar data package chosen and the region of interest. Currently, the costs range anywhere from $1600 per month of data for 1-5 radars up to $2000 per month for 11 radars, in addition to a one-time setup fee of $2000.
 I am satisfied that the archived weather data is available for purchase to the public. As a result, the Act does not apply.
 I acknowledge that the costs to access real-time and archived weather data may pose difficulties for the average citizen.
 Given this particular information is available for purchase, I have no jurisdiction to comment on ECCC’s cost-recovery practice.
 I have however been informed that ECCC has begun a pilot project to provide this information, which is of interest to many Canadians, free of charge. I understand that the complainant has been approached to partake in this process.
 I encourage all institutions to release information that is of interest to Canadians in a timely manner, with as few barriers as possible.
 The complaint is not well founded.
When a complaint falls within the scope of paragraph 30(1)(a), (b), (c), (d), (d.1) or (e) of the Act, the complainant has the right to apply to the Federal Court for a review. The complainant must apply for this review within 35 business days after the date of this report and must serve a copy of the application for review to the relevant parties, as per section 43.