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APPENDIX 1- Report of the ad hoc Information Commissioner
The Access to Information Commissioner, through good work and integrity, has earned the respect and confidence of Canadians. The Ad Hoc Commissioner must maintain that high standard. On June 7, 2007 I was appointed Ad Hoc Information Commissioner. In that role, I was to receive and deal with complaints by members of the public against the Information Commissioner for refusal to disclose records from that office. My appointment expired on March 31, 2008, however, I agreed to stay on after the end of my term and until a new Ad Hoc Commissioner was ready to take over.
It is of the fundamental importance that the Ad Hoc Commissioner be completely independent of the Commissioner of Access to Information and his office. It may seem of little concern and, indeed, petty but the Ad Hoc Commissioner's independence must always be maintained. He or she will require a separate office, mailing address, telephone number and secretarial assistance. The Ad Hoc Commissioner must select and engage an investigating officer that will report only to him. The investigation officer or officers must be assured that they have the authority to gain access to documents as do the investigators employed by the Commissioner. It was necessary at the outset of my term to engage an investigating officer. She has worked conscientiously and well in her endeavours.
During the course of my term seven complaints were carefully investigated by the investigating officer and her report and conclusions submitted to me and duly considered. It is sufficient to note that all information which was not subject to statutory exemption was made available to the complainant.
In my view, it is necessary to maintain the office of the Ad Hoc Commissioner. This is necessary in order to ensure that someone independent of the Commissioner has considered the complaints made against the Commissioner were properly considered and appropriately dealt with. This position is a new one. At present, one investigating officer appears to be capable of reviewing all the complaints. If the number of complaints increase it will be necessary to consider engaging another investigating officer.
-The Honourable Peter Cory