Appendix 2: Letter to the Honourable Vic Toews on April 13, 2012 and May 2, 2012 Response
April 13, 2012
The Honourable Vic Toews, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
269 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P8
Our file: 3211-01340
RCMP file: GA-3951-3-00183/12
Dear Minister Toews:
I write to you in your capacity as head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the RCMP) pursuant to the Access to Information Act (the Act) with regard to a complaint under the Act that I am currently investigating. That complaint relates to a request made to the RCMP on December 28, 2011, for “a copy of the Canadian Firearms Information System (the gun registry database) with the same level of information released in A-2008-04874 but from the inception of the registry under December 19, 2011.”
On January 20, 2012, the RCMP replied to the request, informing the requester that a total of $1,500.00 had been assessed under subsection 11(2) of the Act for search and preparation of the responsive records.
On February 29, 2012, my office received a complaint from the requester about the RCMP’s assessment of fees and on March 20, 2012, the RCMP was provided with a notice of intention to investigate and summary of complaint in relation to this complaint. Also, we requested that the RCMP provide specific information and records to this office in relation to the complaint.
While we have not, at this time, requested a copy of the records responsive to the underlying request, I am writing to you now to ensure that these records are preserved pending a substantive response to the request and the expiry of any time period to make a complaint on the response to my office and any related court proceedings.
I am aware that the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act, 2012, c. 6 (the new Act) received Royal Assent on April 5, 2012, and will come into force on a day or days to be fixed by Order in Council. Upon coming into force, this new Act will amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act to remove the requirement to register firearms that are neither prohibited nor restricted. It will also provide for the destruction of existing records, held in the Canadian Firearms Registry and under the control of firearms officers, which relate to the registration of such firearms.
Indeed, pursuant to subsection 29(1) of the new Act, the Commissioner of Firearms will have the responsibility of ensuring the destruction as soon as feasible of all records in the Canadian Firearms Registry related to the registration of firearms that are neither prohibited nor restricted, and all copies of those records under the Commissioner’s control.
Given the impending coming into force of this new legal requirement, I thought it prudent to write to you at this time to alert you to the fact that any records responsive to requests made under the Act prior to the coming into force of this provision are subject to the right of access to any record under the control of a government institution recognized by subsection 4(1) of the Act. This is to say that any records under the control of the RCMP, including those 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. This, of course, applies to the records responsive to the above-noted request.
I request that you inform me by April 30, 2012, whether you agree not to destroy any records in the Canadian Firearms Registry related to the registration of non-prohibited and non-restricted firearms and that are responsive to requests under the Act received by the RCMP before the coming into force of subsection 29(1) of the new Act.
Should your officials wish to discuss any aspect of this matter before April 30, 2012, they may communicate with Emily McCarthy, Acting Assistant Commissioner at (613) 995-2665.
c.c.: Commissioner of the RCMP
RCMP ATIP Coordinator
Ms. Suzanne Legault
Information Commissioner of Canada
112 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario KlA 1H3
Dear Ms. Legault:
Thank you for your correspondence of April13, 2012, regarding a complaint filed under the Access to Information Act related to a request for information pertaining to the Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS).
I have provided a copy of your correspondence to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and have been advised that they will contact your office directly to assist with the resolution of this complaint in a timely manner.
With respect to your question on destruction of records in the CFIS, please be assured that the RCMP will abide by the right of access described in section 4 of the Act and its obligations in that regard.
I trust that this information addresses your concerns.
Vic Toews, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
c.c.: Superintendent Yves Marineau
Officer in charge, RCMP Access to Information and Privacy Branch