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1. Highlights 2008–2009

This year, we in the Office of the Information Commissioner focused on further streamlining and fine-tuning our investigative process while promoting greater institutional compliance with the Access to Information Act and addressing the need for legislative reform.

Business model

In 2008–2009, we developed a new business model with the following goals:

  • to streamline our investigative process to increase efficiency and timeliness, which will also help us to eliminate the inventory of cases accumulated over time and prevent its recurrence;
  • to adopt a strategic and proactive approach to addressing systemic non-compliance; and
  • to use a spectrum of tools that support our investigative and systemic actions to maximize compliance.

Summary of caseload

 

2006–2007

2007–2008

2008–2009

Complaints received      
Complaints carried over from the previous year

1,453

1,420

2,293

New complaints

1,317

2,387

2,018

Complaints cancelled during the year

82

108

28**

Complaints pending at year-end

1,420

2,318*

2,513

       
Outcome of complaints      
Complaints discontinued during the year

449

108

652

Complaints completed during the year with findings

819

1,273

1,118

Total of complaints closed during the year

1, 268

1,381

1,770

       
Commissioner-initiated complaints      
Complaints carried over from the previous year

423

237

0

New complaints

393

0

1

Complaints closed during the year

579

237

0

Complaints pending at year-end

237

0

1

Report cards initiated during the year

17

10

***

       

* Figure adjusted after year-end to avoid duplication - 25 complaints received at the end of March 2008 were registered at the beginning of April 2008.

** We stopped using the “cancelled” category in June 2008 when we set up our new intake process. These 28 complaints were cancelled before this change was made. In the past, a complaint was registered upon receipt and then cancelled after we determined that it was not valid under the Act (for example, when it was made beyond the time allowed, or the complainant withdrew or abandoned it before the investigation began). As of June 2008, we register a complaint once we review it and obtain, where necessary, sufficient information to determine that it is a valid complaint. A complaint that is found not to be valid is now treated as a general enquiry.

*** The 2007–2008 report cards were completed during the following fiscal year and published in February 2009.



Noteworthy investigations

In addition to responding to access to information requests in a timely manner, institutions have an obligation to make every reasonable effort to help requesters get the information they seek. A number of our investigations in 2008–2009 uncovered instances of institutions not fully living up to their duty to assist requesters.

Court cases

The year 2008–2009 saw progress on several important court cases, including three cases pertaining to records held within ministers’s offices or the Prime Minister’s office; the Information Commissioner has appealed the Federal Court’s decisions in these cases. The Commissioner has also become a party to a Federal Court review of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s failure to respond to a large number of access requests submitted in the fall of 2007. In addition, the Commissioner has asked permission to intervene in a case before the Supreme Court of Canada involving the constitutionality of a section of Ontario’s freedom of information legislation.

Outcome by type of complaint, 2008–2009

Outcome by type of complaint, 2008–2009




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