Overview of the ATIA investigative procedure (Word)


Overview of the ATIA investigative procedure

Complaint made to information commissioner

  • Intake and Early Resolution Unit of the Complaints Resolution and Compliance Branch:
    • Receives complaint (s. 30)
    • Notifies institution of intention to investigate - issues summary of complaint (s. 32)
    • Obtains relevant information and records (s. 36)
    • If early resolution not possible or not appropriate, assigns complaint for priority or regular investigations

Investigator assigned to complaint:

  • Contacts complainant for clarification, information, observations, representations
  • Contacts / meets with the institution access and privacy (ATIP) office to:
    • Obtain additional records, information, rationale for denial of access, reasons for delay, extension, etc.
    • Discuss issues identified for investigation
  • Interviews institutional officials and others
  • Obtains representations from institution, third parties, complainants
  • Analyses information and merits of institution’s position and representations made
  • Attempts to mediate resolution
  • Submits for management review and approval investigation report containing conclusions and recommendations for disposition of complaint


  • Conducted in private (s. 35)
  • Procedures determined by OIC (s. 34)
  • Powers to enter premises, examine or obtain records, converse with persons in private, receive or accept evidence informally or under oath, subpoena powers for persons and documents (s. 36)

Disposition of Complaints

  • 1. Well-founded (s. 37):
    • Well-founded, resolved
    • Well-founded, resolved with recommendations
    • Well-founded, not resolved 
  • 2. Not well-founded (s. 37)
  • 3. Settled by agreement of the parties
  • 4. Discontinued
  • Commissioner reports results of investigation to complainant, institution, and third parties where applicable
  • Where complaint cannot be resolved, Commissioner first issues to the head of the institution her report of finding (well-founded complaint) that contains recommendations, and requests that the head notify her of whether he/she has or will implement the recommendations. Results then reported to complainant
  • Commissioner informs complainant of right to apply to Federal Court for a review of institution’s refusal to provide access to requested records (s. 41)
  • Commissioner may, with consent of complainant, apply to Federal Court for a review of institution’s refusal to disclose requested records (s. 42)