The complainant alleged that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) had improperly withheld information under paragraph 20(1)(b) (Confidential third-party financial, commercial, scientific or technical information), paragraph 20(1)(c) (Financial impact on third party) and paragraph 18(c) (Government scientific or technical information obtained from research) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for information related to piscine reovirus, heart and skeletal muscle inflammation, the Creative Salmon Company Ltd., or jaundice syndrome.
DFO could not show that it met all the requirements of these exemptions. Concerning paragraph 18(c), DFO failed to show that disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to threaten the exclusive rights of government researchers to publish the results of their research first.
Concerning paragraph 20(1)(b), neither DFO nor the third party established that the information was confidential information supplied by the third party. The parties also did not establish that disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to result in substantial financial loss or gain to the third party or be injurious to its competitive position, as per paragraph 20(1)(c).
The Information Commissioner recommended that DFO disclose the information at issue in full, with the exception of personal information withheld under subsection 19(1).
DFO gave notice to the Commissioner that it would be implementing the recommendations.
The complaint is well founded.