Top Stories

Federal Court decision in Information Commissioner of Canada v. Minister of National Defence

March 3, 2014

On December 9, 2010, National Defence received a request for access to all documents relative to a specific contract, and all communications between certain employees and with Public Works and Government Services Canada in relation to the contract. The requester also sought the communications between certain individuals about a company, an individual and the sale of military surplus in Uruguay.

National Defence advised the requester that it would extend the time limit and would respond to the request in 1,110 days.

As a result of a complaint from the requester indicating that the time limit was unreasonable, the Commissioner conducted an investigation and determined that the requirements of section 9 for the time extension had not been met. The Commissioner then recommended that the Minister make a commitment to respond to the request by February 28, 2013, at the latest. On November 6, 2012, the Minister informed the Commissioner that he would be unable to commit to responding to the request by the recommended date.

In December 2012, the Commissioner informed the requester that she considered the 1,100-day extension to be invalid and constituted deemed refusal on the part of the Minister to disclose the requested documents.

The Commissioner then filed an application for judicial review, with the requester’s consent, under section 42 of the Act.

The particular issue before the Court was whether the 1,110-day extension is valid or whether it constitutes a refusal that enables the Federal Court to order disclosure.

In a judgment rendered on March 3, 2014, the Court dismissed the Application for judicial review.

The parties have until April 2, 2014 to file a Notice of Appeal.

Link to decision: Information Commissioner of Canada v. Minister of National Defence