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The Court Rejects the Application for Judicial Review of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Ottawa, September 24, 2010 – In the case of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) v. the Information Commissioner of Canada, the Federal Court today ruled that the Commissioner, during the investigation of a complaint, has the authority to order the CBC to produce records. The case revolved around a question of interpretation of section 68.1 of the Access to Information Act which provides that the Act does not apply to certain information held by the CBC.
The CBC maintained that, since the records were excluded from the purview of the Act, the Commissioner did not have a right to examine them. In the judgement, the Court explained that the Commissioner must have the authority to determine, in an objective and independent fashion, if the records fall under the ambit of the exception and if they qualify for exclusion.
The judge also stressed that the Commissioner is a neutral party, that investigations are conducted in private and are confidential, and that the review must be objective. Furthermore, providing information to the Commissioner does not constitute public disclosure.
The Information Commissioner of Canada, Suzanne Legault is very pleased with the decision. She stated that “it confirms the importance of my role as the first level of review.” Ms. Legault added, “To fulfill my mandate and my responsibility to protect the rights of requesters, I must have authority to examine records that are the subject of complaints.”
This decision is pursuant to numerous complaints regarding CBC’s application of section 68.1 of the Act.
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For more information:
Director of Communications
Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada