Triage of complaints

The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) is handling its caseload by using a triage process. It involves an assessment of complaints received that can be resolved either quickly by way of an early resolution process or by assigning a priority level.

Following an internal audit, the triage process has been streamlined to improve client service.

Early Resolution

The OIC will investigate and complete all administrative complaints within 90 calendar days of their being registered. These types of complaints involve delays which are considered deemed refusals, time extensions, fees and miscellaneous matters.

Early resolution may also be attempted for refusal complaints. The OIC will contact the complainant to determine if early resolution is possible.

The types of refusal complaints that will be considered for early resolution include:

  • exclusion complaints involving published material (section 68);
  • missing records and incomplete response complaints when the matter concerns a misdirected request and/or sufficient justification is evident;
  • mandatory exemption complaints, such as personal information;
  • discretionary exemption complaints where the volume of records involved is low (e.g. fewer than 20 pages), or where the body of records, although voluminous, are similar or routine in nature and do not require extensive analysis. In these cases, all of the necessary material must be available in order to undertake an analysis.

 Priority Complaints

There may be circumstances where a complaint will be given priority because it is urgent or may have a significant impact on Canadians. For instance, cases considered urgent will be those dealing with life, liberty or security of individuals, loss of economic rights or legal remedies, and possible destruction of records.

Cases considered to have a significant impact will be those dealing with widespread public or parliamentary interest, systemic issues, precedent-setting cases, public safety and national security, and government accountability issues.

The OIC will monitor performance systematically to ensure that these cases progress towards resolution in a timely manner.

This simplified triage process will be reviewed in 12 months in consultation with institutions and complainants.

Last updated: October 1st 2009