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Complaints to the Information Commissioner ad hoc
The amendments to the Access to Information Act that made our organization subject to the Act, following the adoption of the 2007 Federal Accountability Act, did not set out how complaints against us were to be handled. To ensure requesters have the right to voice their concerns and to make complaints, the Information Commissioner appointed an independent Commissioner ad hoc to investigate these complaints independently of our office. The Honourable W. Andrew MacKay became the Information Commissioner ad hoc in May 2008, succeeding the Honourable Peter de C. Cory, who established the guiding principles and functioning of the Office of the Information Commissioner ad hoc.
This year, we were notified of 13 complaints about our handling of access requests. The reasons for those complaints were: withholding of information (11) and length of extensions (2).
Mr. MacKay is a former judge of the Federal Court of Canada and a distinguished jurist. He was admitted to the Bar of Nova Scotia in 1954 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1972. He studied at Harvard University and at Dalhousie University, where from 1957 to 1988, he held various positions, including Professor and Dean of the Law School, Vice-President, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University. From 1967 to 1986, he was Chair of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and was the Ombudsman for Nova Scotia from 1986 to 1988. He was appointed Judge of the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, ex-officio member of the Court of Appeal and Judge of the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada in 1988. After retiring as a Judge in 2004, Mr. MacKay served as Deputy Judge of the Federal Court from 2004 to December 2007.
The Commissioner ad hoc closed seven complaints during 2008–2009, declaring six of them to be not substantiated. One was resolved by the release of further information and six were carried over to 2009–2010. Appendix 1 contains the report of the Information Commissioner ad hoc for 2008–2009.