Investigations

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
 

Investigation

  • 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

The OIC uses disposition categories to inform on the outcome of complaint investigations.

Well-founded

Following an investigation, the Commissioner found that the government institution failed to respect one or more of its obligations under the Access to Information Act.

Not well-founded

Following an investigation, the Commissioner found no or insufficient evidence to conclude that the government institution failed to respect one or more of its obligations under the Access to Information Act.

Resolved

The complainant is satisfied with the resolution achieved through the OIC’s intervention, or the matter central to the complaint is no longer at issue before the complaint has been fully investigated. For example, a delay complaint is resolved if the complainant receives a response to their request before the allegation of delay has been fully investigated. Likewise, a complaint about refusal of access is resolved if the complainant receives the withheld information at issue in the complaint before the allegation of proper application of exemptions has been fully investigated.

Discontinued

The complaint was withdrawn or abandoned before all the allegations were fully investigated. A complaint may be discontinued for various reasons. For example, the complainant may no longer be interested in pursuing the matter, or cannot be located to provide additional information critical to reaching a conclusion.