Appendix A: The investigation
A preliminary assessment was done of the 15 files originally identified for investigation. The following eight files were selected for more in-depth investigation.
File A-2008-00588 (March 26, 2009): An access request for copies of four briefing notes to the Minister of PWGSC, one of which dealt with a public opinion research project. [translation]
File A-2008-00519 (February 20, 2009): An access request for all records pertaining to changes in PWGSC’s daily activities in preparation for and during the visit of the American President to Canada. [translation]
File A-2009-00169 (June 24, 2009): An access request for copies of specific Question Period (QP) cards prepared for the PWGSC Minister, one of which concerned the issue of visible minorities. [translation]
File A-2009-00042 (April 21, 2009): An access request for information on financial disbursements by the Canadian Government on office furniture through the aboriginal set aside funds in 2007-2008.
File A-2009-00033 (April 27, 2009): An access request for a list of all QP notes created for the Minister from April 13 to April 27, 2009.
File AC-2009-00039 (June 16, 2009): A consultation request from Health Canada pertaining to an access request on the completed Affiliations and Interests Declaration Form for Chrysolite [sic] Expert Panel members.
File AC-2008-00049 (June 6, 2008): A consultation request from the Department of National Defence pertaining to an access request for briefing notes to the Minister on the status of the Cyclone Helicopter Procurement and/or problems with the contractor.
File AC-2009-00056 (July 22, 2009): A consultation request from Library and Archives Canada regarding written reports provided by the Independent Review Monitor appointed to oversee the request for proposals process for the Portrait Gallery of Canada.
This appendix contains summaries of the processing of five requests (namely, A-2008-00519, A-2008-00588, AC-2009-00039, A-2009-00033, and A-2009-00169) that form the basis of this report.
In the context of this investigation, the Information Commissioner determined the procedure to be followed in the performance of her duties and used her formal powers under section 36 of the Act.
A preliminary assessment was done of the 15 files originally identified during the course of our investigation. The Commissioner chose to further investigate the above-noted eight files after analyzing additional records she received from PWGSC in response to the three Orders for the Production of Records that she issued under to sections 34, 36 and 59 of the Act.
The first and second production orders, issued on November 19, 2010, and December 2, 2010, respectively, sought information relating to the 15 files at issue. PWGSC complied with these production orders.
The third production order was issued on December 23, 2010, and sought, among other things, all records of communications to and from the three members of Minister Paradis’ staff involved in this investigation. Records of communication were defined as emails with attachments, back-up emails, and PIN-to-PIN messages. On January 7, 2011, PWGSC responded that it would not produce, as requested, the records of communications to and from the ministerial staff members because it considered these communications not under its control, but rather under the control of the Minister.
The Commissioner wrote to Minister, Rona Ambrose on January 12, 2011, requesting the records identified in her third production order that the department indicated it would not provide. On January 26, 2011, Minister Ambrose informed the Commissioner that her office would assist in providing the requested records. These records were provided on May 9, 2011.
In order to confirm that the Minister provided the Commissioner with everything referred to in the third production order, the Assistant Commissioner issued a letter to the Minister’s Chief of Staff on July 13, 2011, requesting that he sign an affidavit to that effect. On August 22, 2011, the Minister’s Chief of Staff provided the requested affidavit.
In the course of the Commissioner’s investigation, 17 witnesses were summoned to testify under oath. Their names and the positions they held at the time the requests were processed, are as follows:
- Caroline Weber, Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services, Policy and Communications Branch;
- Jacqeline Jodoin, Acting Director General, Executive Secretariat, Corporate Services, Policy and Communications Branch;
- Sarah Paquet, Senior General Counsel
- Pierre-Marc Mongeau, Assistant Deputy Minister, Parliamentary Precinct Branch;
- Sylvie Séguin-Brant, Director General, Executive Secretariat, Corporate Services, Policy and Communications Branch;
- Tom Makichuk, Director, Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Directorate;
- Katia Dalpé-Charron, Strategic Advisor, Deputy Minister’s Office;
- Sheriff Abdou, Departmental Assistant, Office of the Minister;
- Rachelle Delage, ATIP Chief, ATIP Directorate;
- Julie Lafrance, Acting Manager, ATIP Directorate;
- Sylvie Lepage, Acting Manager, ATIP Directorate;
- William Hulme, Project Executive/Lead Negotiator/Major Projects, Real Property Branch;
- Hélène Paquette, Administrative Assistant, PWGSC Minister’s Office;
- Louise Benoit, ATIP Consultant;
- Sébastien Togneri, Director of Parliamentary Affairs, PWGSC Minister’s Office;
- Jillian Andrews, Special Assistant, PWGSC Minister’s Office; and
- Marc Toupin, Policy Advisor, PWGSC Minister’s Office.
Confidentiality orders were issued to protect the integrity of the investigation. The witnesses were advised of their right to retain counsel of their choice. Sixteen of the witnesses chose to be represented by counsel. The witnesses’ testimony was transcribed by a court reporter. Witnesses were also provided with the opportunity to review the transcripts of their testimony. Certain witnesses received notices of potential adverse findings and were given an opportunity to present further evidence and/or representations prior to the finalization of the Preliminary Report of Facts and Findings. Representations were received and considered by the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC).
All witnesses were then given an opportunity to provide further evidence and/or representations in relation to the draft preliminary report. Representations that were received were considered in the preparation of the draft preliminary report.
The Assistant Commissioner wrote to PWGSC’s Deputy Minister to provide PWGSC with an opportunity to make representations under subsection 35(2) of the Act with respect to the preliminary report. She also asked for representations regarding other issues that arose during the investigation. The Deputy Minister provided representations on behalf of the Department. Representations were received and considered by the OIC. In her representations, the Deputy Minister made no correction to or comment on the facts and conclusions set out in the preliminary report provided to PWGSC. Accordingly, that report now constitutes the Commissioner’s Final Report of Fact and Findings.