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

May 8
2022

Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (Re), OIC 2022 39

Institution
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
Section of the Act
19(1)
20(1)(b)
20(1)(c)
20(1)(d)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) had improperly withheld information under subsection 19(1) (personal information), paragraph 20(1)(b) (confidential third-party financial, commercial, scientific or technical 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. This was in response to an access request for information related to applications for funding from The Corporation of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake (Niagara-on-the-Lake) between January 2020 and April 2021. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

Neither the institution nor the third parties to whom the information relates provided evidence or representations demonstrating that the requirements of the exemptions were met.

The complaint is well founded.

The Information Commissioner ordered the FedDev Ontario to disclose all information at issue.

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario gave notice that it would fully implement the order.

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
Apr 21
2022

Department of Justice Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 21

Institution
Justice Canada
Section of the Act
9(1)
Decision Type
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the 2,280-day time taken by Department of Justice Canada (Justice) to respond to a request under the Access to Information Act is unreasonable.

Justice notified the complainant that the response would require an additional 2,280 days beyond the original 30 days pursuant to paragraphs 9(1)(a) and 9(1)(b) of the Act to complete the processing of the request.

Justice did not show that it met all the requirements of paragraph 9(1)(a), in particular it did not sufficiently justify the length of the extension claimed.

The Information Commissioner ordered the Minister of Justice to provide a final response forthwith.

Justice gave notice to the Commissioner that it would comply with her order and respond to the request forthwith.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Apr 19
2022

Library and Archives Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 17

Institution
Library and Archives Canada
Section of the Act
30
30(1)(f)
Decision Type
Recommendation
Final report
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
Mar 18
2022

Trans Mountain Corporation (Re), 2022 OIC 20

Institution
Trans Mountain Corporation
Section of the Act
13(1)
17
18
20
21
22
23
26
30(1)(f)
Decision Type
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Trans Mountain Corporation (TMC) had improperly withheld information under paragraphs 21(1)(a) (advice or recommendations), 21(1)(b) (accounts of consultations or deliberations) and section 26 (information to be published) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for documents pertaining to the Trans Mountain Project and related to specific TMC Board of Directors meetings held in 2019.

During the course of the investigation, TMC informed the OIC that it had decided to continue to withhold all of the information responsive to the request, in accordance with, not only the three exemptions mentioned above, but also the following twelve exemptions: paragraphs 13(1)(c) (confidential information from government bodies), 18(a) (government financial, commercial, scientific or technical information), 18(b) (competitive position of government institutions), 20(1)(a) (third-party trade secrets), 20(1)(b) (confidential third-party financial, commercial, scientific or technical information), 20(1)(b.1) (third-party emergency management plans), 20(1)(c) (financial impact on a third party), 20(1)(d) (negotiations by a third party), and sections 17 (safety of individuals), 22 (testing or auditing procedures or techniques), 22.1 (draft internal audit reports and their working papers), and 23 (legal advice and litigation privilege) of the Act.

TMC failed to convince the Commissioner that it had applied the Act correctly to the entirety of the information found in the record and did not provide sufficient details for the Commissioner to decide whether it had reasonably exercised its discretion to decide not to release the information. Accordingly, the Commissioner found that further disclosure was warranted.

As a result, the Commissioner provided the President and Chief Executive Officer of TMC with her initial report setting out her intended order to disclose all information withheld under the Act.

Following receipt of the Commissioner’s intended order, the President and Chief Executive Officer of TMC gave the Commissioner notice that he would be partially implementing her order by releasing portions of the records. Thereafter, the complainant indicated to the OIC that they were satisfied with the additional information that had been released. Therefore, an order was no longer required.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Mar 11
2022

Department of Finance Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 19

Institution
Finance Canada
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Department of Finance Canada (Finance) failed to respond to a request for information within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act.

The Information Commissioner found that the delay in responding to the requests mainly rests with Finance’s Office of Primary Interest, the Federal-Provincial Relations and Social Policy Branch, which has failed to provide records to Finance’s Access to Information and Privacy office in a timely fashion.

The Information Commissioner ordered the Minister of Finance to provide a final response to the request for information submitted on July 22, 2020 forthwith.

Finance gave notice that it would be implementing the order and respond to the request on a priority basis.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Mar 10
2022

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Re), 2022 OIC 18

Institution
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Section of the Act
7
10(3)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) did not respond to four access requests within the 30-day time limit set out in section 7 of the Access to Information Act.

The investigations showed that the RCMP did not meet its obligation, in all four requests, to respond within the 30-day time limit. The RCMP could not demonstrate how the operational challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic justified the significant delays in obtaining responsive records from its Offices of Primary Interest (OPIs).

Given the 2020 systemic investigation and the public commitments that were made by the former Minister of Public Safety on behalf of the RCMP, the Information Commissioner was disappointed that some of the problems that were identified have yet to be addressed.

The Information Commissioner ordered the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to prepare a final response to each of the four requests forthwith.

The RCMP gave notice that the complainant had agreed to consolidate all four requests into one (A-2020-02614) and that the RCMP would respond to this request by March 18, 2022.

All four complaints are well founded.

Read more
Mar 4
2022

Public Services and Procurement Canada (Re), 2022 OIC 16

Institution
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Section of the Act
4(2.1)
67
Decision Type
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) did not process their access request in accordance with the Access to Information Act. Specifically, the complainant alleged that PSPC obstructed their right of access under the Act by concealing the requested records. The request focused on a list of contracts awarded in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This investigation centred on the processing of the request under the Act, since it is not the Office of the Information Commissioner’s role to investigate allegations under section 67.1. Although there were serious failures in the processing of the access request, the Commissioner is not of the opinion that there is any evidence of an offence.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Date modified:
Submit a complaint