Dramatic increase in the number of complaints submitted to the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) in 2021–22
Gatineau, June 15, 2022 – The Information Commissioner of Canada, Caroline Maynard, has submitted her 2021–22 Annual Report to Parliament for tabling today.
The Annual Report shows a concerning 70% increase in complaints over the previous fiscal year. “Never, since the creation of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada in 1983, have we recorded such a large number of complaints,” remarked Commissioner Maynard.
The report also highlights Canadians’ interest in the decisions made by the government during the pandemic and the importance of government institutions fulfilling their legislative obligations despite the challenges associated with the pandemic. “When people lose trust in official sources of information, they turn to unreliable sources, where misinformation can flourish. This has profound effects on our society,” observed Commissioner Maynard. “Government institutions can no longer use COVID-19 as an excuse for not living up to their obligations in the area of access to information.”
“The government must not only acknowledge that it has a fundamental duty to safeguard the quasi-constitutional right of access, it must act accordingly,” said the Commissioner. “It is vital to ensure that the necessary resources, processes and tools are in place so that the institutions can meet their obligations under the Access to Information Act.”
The report also outlines the OIC’s activities and key events related to the access to information system over the past fiscal year and provides an update on the progress made on the Commissioner’s priorities since her appointment in March 2018. This includes an update on the systemic investigations conducted during the first half of the Commissioner’s mandate and the initiatives undertaken by the investigated institutions. In addition, the report details strategies adopted by the OIC to improve the efficiency of its operations and its performance while dealing with an ever-increasing number of new complaints.
The 2021–22 Annual Report is available on the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada’s website.