Information Commissioner’s guidance
Process: Investigating exemption and missing records complaints submitted together
Updated November 6, 2018
Requesters may submit a complaint asking the Information Commissioner to investigate an institution’s use of exemptions and/or exclusions and whether additional records exist with reference to a single access request.
This guidance document sets out the process the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) follows when it receives this type of multi-faceted complaint.
1. Two complaints registered
First, the OIC registers two separate complaints, one for each aspect of the original complaint:
- an exemption and/or exclusion complaint; and
- an incomplete search/missing records complaint.
The OIC sends the requester a letter acknowledging receipt of each complaint and a summary of each complaint.
2. Exemption and/or exclusion complaint
The OIC investigates the exemption and/or exclusion complaint to determine whether the institution properly applied the exemptions and/or exclusions.
3. Incomplete search/missing records complaint
The OIC investigates the incomplete search/missing records complaint to determine whether additional records exist or whether the original response from the institution was complete.
When additional records are located and/or provided to the complainant as a result of the investigation of an incomplete search/missing records complaint, the complainant has the right to complain about any exemptions and/or exclusions applied to the additional records. They must file the complaint within 60 days of receiving the additional records. The OIC then registers a new exemption and/or exclusion complaint and recommends that the complainant reference the original incomplete search/missing records complaint number in subsequent correspondence.