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

111 decisions found

Sep 13
2022

Canada School of Public Service (Re), 2022 OIC 44

Institution
Canada School of Public Service
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
30(1)(f)
Decision Type
Recommendation
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) did not conduct a reasonable search in response to an access request made under the Access to Information Act for all emails sent and received by a specified senior executive from January 1, 2019 to July 8, 2019. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act. In addition, the complainant questioned whether the request was processed without regard to the identity of the person making the request.  This aspect of the complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(f) of the Act. Finally, the complainant further alleged that the CSPS intentionally deleted records despite knowing that there was an existing access request for those records.

This investigation revealed several issues with the processing of this request including, but not limited to: keeping the request on hold for months without lawful authority; failing to retain records responsive to an active access request; and an inadequate search for records as evidenced by the additional records that were ultimately found and sent to the complainant. The Information Commissioner concluded that the CSPS did not initially conduct a reasonable search in response to the access request. Also, while it is clear that the CSPS mishandled the processing of this request, the Commissioner did not find evidence related to the commission of an offense under the Act in the context of the investigation. Lastly, with regard to the allegation that the complainant’s identity was taken into consideration during the processing of the request, the Commissioner did not find evidence of this during the course of the investigation. The complaint is well founded.

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Aug 22
2022

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 42

Institution
Immigration and Refugee Board
Section of the Act
9(1)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the length of the extension of time Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) took under subsection 9(1) of the Access to Information Act to respond to an access request was unreasonable. The request was for records produced on or after December 31, 2019, related to the updated version of the Weighing Evidence document available on the IRB’s website. The complaint falls under paragraph 30(1)(c) of the Act. IRB claimed a 1,295-day extension of time pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(a). If the extension were valid, the time limit for the response would be March 31, 2025. IRB could not show that it met all the requirements of paragraph 9(1)(a), in particular that the calculation of the time extension was sufficiently logical and supportable, or that providing access to the records within any materially lesser period of time than the one asserted would unreasonably interfere with its operations. Given that IRB did not establish that the requested extension of time was reasonable, the extension is invalid, and IRB is deemed to have refused access pursuant to subsection 10(3). The Information Commissioner ordered the Chairman of IRB to process all records within the scope of the request as soon as possible but no later than April 18, 2023. The Chairman of IRB gave notice to the Commissioner that it would be implementing her order.

The complaint is well founded.

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Aug 19
2022

Library and Archives Canada (Re), OIC 2022 43

Institution
Library and Archives Canada
Section of the Act
15(1)
Decision Type
Recommendation
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) improperly withheld information under subsection 15(1) (national security, defence) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for historical documents regarding the defence of the Arctic region.

The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act. LAC could not show that it met all of the requirements of this exemption—in particular, how the release of the subject information would harm national security and/or the defence of Canada.

The Information Commissioner recommended that LAC disclose the records in their entirety. LAC gave notice to the Information Commissioner that it would be implementing the recommendation.

The complaint is well founded.

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Aug 12
2022

Office of the Auditor General of Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 40

Institution
Office of the Auditor General of Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) had incorrectly decided that witness statements and documentation employed to support a harassment investigation final report were not under its control and that it could not, therefore, give access to these records in response to an access request under the Access to Information Act. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

Although the records were not in the physical possession of the OAG, the Office of the Information Commissioner found that several relevant factors pointed to the records being under the control of the OAG. During the investigation, the OAG retrieved and processed the responsive records.

The complaint is well founded.

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Aug 1
2022

Decision pursuant to 6.1, 2022 OIC 38

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, made in bad faith, or 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 application was premature, as the institution did not establish that it fulfilled its duty to assist obligations under subsection 4(2.1) of the Act.

The Commissioner denied the application.

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Jul 28
2022

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (Re), 2022 OIC 37

Institution
Canadian Security Intelligence Service
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Recommendation
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) did not conduct a reasonable search under the Access to Information Act when responding to an access request seeking records related to pay equity for unionized CSIS employees. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

Despite the involvement of its Departmental Legal Services Unit (DLSU) in the pay equity issue, CSIS refused to task this area, stating that DLSU records form part of the Department of Justice’s information holdings and are therefore not under CSIS’ control.

The Office of the Information Commissioner found that records responsive to the request might be under the control of CSIS and/or both CSIS and Justice. CSIS, in refusing to task, retrieve and review requested records from its DLSU to determine the issue of control, failed to conduct a reasonable search.

The Information Commissioner recommended that CSIS retrieve and review responsive records from its DLSU, and issue a new response.

CSIS gave notice to the Commissioner it would not implement the recommendations.

The complaint is well founded.

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Jul 22
2022

Export Development Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 41

Institution
Export Development Canada
Section of the Act
18
24(1)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Export Development Canada (EDC) had improperly withheld information under subsections 18.1(1) (confidential financial, commercial, scientific or technical information of EDC) and 24(1) (disclosure restricted by another law) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for a summary of all financial assistance provided by EDC to Canadian companies in Honduras over $50,000, from 2009 to 2019.

EDC could not show that it met all the requirements for these exemptions. In particular, EDC did not demonstrate how the information at issue, which is shared with and retained by EDC’s customers, belonged to EDC as required in subsection 18.1.. As for subsection 24(1) of the Act, EDC invoked section 24.3 (Privileged Information) of the Export Development Act but failed to demonstrate how the information was “obtained” by, rather than “created” by EDC.

The Information Commissioner ordered that EDC disclose the policy types (acronyms), policy numbers, and maximum liability amounts that had been withheld under paragraph 18.1(1) and subsection 24(1).

EDC gave notice that it would partially implement the order, disclosing the policy types (acronyms) but not the policy numbers and maximum liability amounts. To this effect, EDC indicated that it did not agree with the Information Commissioner of Canada’s interpretation of section 24.3 of the Export Development Act and indicated that it would be seeking a review by the Federal Court.

The complaint is well founded.

Related litigation proceeding before the Federal Court: Export Development Canada v. The Information Commissioner of Canada, T-1793-22. The steps taken in this proceeding are available using the following link: Federal Court - Court Files (fct-cf.gc.ca)

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Jul 20
2022

Old Port of Montreal Corporation Inc. (Re), 2022 OIC 36

Institution
Old Port of Montreal Corporation Inc.
Section of the Act
18
19(1)
20(1)(c)
20(1)(d)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Old Port of Montreal Corporation Inc. had improperly withheld information under paragraph 18(b) (competitive position of government institutions, negotiations by government institutions), paragraph 18(d) (government financial interests), subsection 19(1) (personal information), paragraph 20(1)(c) (financial impact on a third party) and paragraph 20(1)(d) (negotiations by a third party) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for records related to the loan of objects for the exhibit “Autopsy of a Murder”.

Signatures were removed from the scope of the complaint.

The institution did not provide any representations supporting the application of the exemptions. A third party made representations related to photographs of human remains that were withheld pursuant to subsection 19(1). Given the photographs do not relate to an identifiable individual or they relate to an individual who has been deceased for more than 20 years, the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) found that the photographs could not be withheld pursuant to subsection 19(1). The Office of the Privacy

Commissioner agreed with the OIC’s position.

The Information Commissioner ordered the Old Port of Montreal Corporation Inc. to disclose all information at issue.

The Old Port of Montreal Corporation Inc. gave notice that it would implement the order.

The complaint is well founded

Related litigation proceeding before the Federal Court: The Chief Coroner of Quebec v. Attorney General of Canada and The Old Port of Montreal Corporation, T-1709-22. The steps taken in this proceeding are available using the following link: Federal Court - Court Files (fct-cf.gc.ca)

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Jul 13
2022

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Re), 2022 OIC 34

Institution
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Section of the Act
18
19(1)
Decision Type
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) had improperly withheld information under paragraph 18(b) (competitive position or negotiations by government institutions) and subsection 19(1) (personal information) of the Access to Information Act (the Act), in response to an access request for documents about the total remuneration of the 250 highest paid unionized employees of the CBC’s French services for two fiscal years.

The CBC relied on paragraph 18(b) to withhold about 25 of the top 250 exact individual salaries requested, for each fiscal year.

The investigation revealed that there is a reasonable expectation that disclosing the information withheld under paragraph 18(b) could injure the CBC’s competitive position. In addition, the Information Commissioner is unable to conclude that the CBC did not consider all the relevant factors to withhold the information. Consequently, the exercise of discretion by the CBC was reasonable.

The complaint is not well founded.

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Jul 11
2022

Employment and Social Development Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 33

Institution
Employment and Social Development Canada
Section of the Act
19(1)
20(1)(c)
21
23
24(1)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) had improperly withheld information in response to an access request for information related to contract 100004587 for a bilingual Advanced Access to Information and Privacy consultant. ESDC refused to disclose portions of the requested records based on subsection 19(1) (personal information), paragraph 20(1)(c) (financial impact on a third party), paragraph 21(1)(b) (accounts of consultations or deliberations), section 23 (solicitor-client and litigation privilege), and subsection 24(1) (disclosure restricted by another law) of the Access to Information Act.

ESDC was unable to demonstrate that information in a CV, related to the position, function and responsibilities of a government employee/contractor, was properly exempt under subsection 19(1), that ESDC made reasonable efforts to seek consent to release personal information, that certain third-party information met the requirements of paragraph 20(1)(c) and that some information met the requirements of paragraph 21(1)(b).

The Information Commissioner ordered ESDC to disclose the information that she found did not meet the requirements of the exemptions and to determine whether the circumstance described in paragraph 19(2)(a) exists.

ESDC gave notice that it would implement the order.

The complaint is well founded.

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