Timeline in relation to an access to information request for the Long-gun Registry

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Timeline Description

The image represents a timeline pointing from left to right, covering the period from 2011 to 2015. The timeline is split between the period prior to the adoption of the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act (ELRA) and the period after the ELRA came into force, during which time the ATIA has also been in force.

Boxes both above and below the timeline at specific dates outline the sequence of events described in the Information Commissioner’s Investigation into an access to information request for the Long-gun Registry Investigation Report. The events are as follows:

Oct. 25, 2011 – The Ending the Long-gun Registry Act (ELRA) is introduced in Parliament. It makes no mention of the Access to Information Act.

Mar. 27, 2012 – Requester makes access to information request to the RCMP.

Apr. 5, 2012 – The ELRA receives royal assent. It does not oust the application of the Access to Information Act.

April 13, 2012 – Information Commissioner writes to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness informing him that “any records under the control of the Commissioner of Firearms and/or the Canadian Firearms Program, for which a request has been received under the Act before the coming into force of subsection 29(1) of the new Act are subject to the right of access and cannot be destroyed until a response has been provided under the Act and any related investigation and court proceedings are completed.”

May 2, 2012 – In response to the Commissioner’s letter of April 13, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness assures the Information Commissioner “that the RCMP will abide by the right of access described in section 4 of the Act and its obligations in that regard.”

Oct. 25-29, 2012 – the RCMP destroys all electronic records of non-restricted firearms, with the exception of those belonging to Quebec residents.

Jan. 11, 2013 – RCMP responds to ATI request with a copy of records that had been provided in response to a previous request.

Feb. 1, 2013 – Requester complains to Information Commissioner alleging, among other things, the receipt of an incomplete response.

Feb. 5, 2013 – In response to a second letter from the Commissioner, the Minister of Public Safety reaffirms that “the RCMP will abide by the right of access.”

July 2014 – Commissioner issues production orders for records related to the access request.

Dec. 2014 – Office of the Information Commissioner conducts examination of witnesses under oath.

Feb. 3, 2015 – RCMP legal counsel provides Information Commissioner with assurances that the RCMP will preserve all records identified as being responsive to the access to information request.

Mar. 26, 2015 – Information Commissioner writes to the Minister pursuant to subsection 37(1) of the Act to report the results of her investigation and to make recommendations to him as the head of the RCMP for the purposes of the Act.

The same day, pursuant to subsection 63(2) of the Act, the Information Commissioner refers to the Attorney General of Canada evidence of the possible commission of an offence under section 67.1 of the Act, which carries with it possible criminal sanction.

Apr. 30, 2015 – The Minister of Public Safety informs the Information Commissioner that he has no intention of pursuing the Commissioner’s first two recommendations. With regard to the third, the Minister acknowledges that the RCMP had already provided the Commissioner with assurances that a backup copy of the records would not be destroyed.

May 7, 2015 – The Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 (Bill C-59) is introduced to Parliament. It contains provisions that make the Access to Information Act “non-applicable” to Long-gun registry records, effective retroactively to the date that the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act (ELRA) was introduced to Parliament (before it received royal assent).

Furthermore, Division 18 of Bill C-59 shields from the application of the Access to Information Act a broader scope of records than ELRA ever did. It covers not just the records in the Long-gun Registry as ELRA did, but any records with respect to the destruction of those records.

Division 18 provides immunity for any “administrative, civil or criminal proceedings” against the Crown in relation to the destruction of said records.