Decisions

Type

139 decisions found

Jan 7
2021

Transport Canada (Re), 2021 OIC 1

Institution
Transport Canada
Section of the Act
26
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Transport Canada had improperly relied on section 26 of the Access to Information Act to refuse access to annual statistics related to processing access to information and privacy requests. The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) was satisfied that Transport Canada met the criteria needed to establish the applicability of section 26 – Refusal of access if information to be published – and that Transport Canada had considered all relevant factors for and against disclosure in its exercise of discretion. The complaint is not well founded.

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Dec 16
2020

Canadian Heritage (Re), 2020 OIC 10

Institution
Canadian Heritage
Section of the Act
30(1)(f)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The Information Commissioner initiated a complaint against the Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) based on reports that the institution had suspended its processing of access requests as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigation found that between March 16, 2020 and July 10, 2020, PCH’s Access to Information and Privacy Secretariat was not granted access to its work premises and was unable to access its departmental network remotely. This created a backlog of 224 access requests.

The complaint is well founded as PCH’s failure to respond to the 224 access requests was not based on any of the specified circumstances set out in subsection 9(1) and effectively breached the requesters’ quasi-constitutional rights of access under the Act.

The Commissioner made six recommendations to the Minister of Canadian Heritage who agreed to take corrective measures to ensure that PCH is fully meeting its obligations under the Act.

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Dec 14
2020

VIA Rail Canada Inc. (Re), 2020 OIC 15

Institution
VIA Rail Canada
Section of the Act
18
21
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant disputed VIA Rail’s decision to withhold information related to a High Frequency Rail Proposal in response to an access request. The information was withheld under multiple paragraphs of the Access to Information Act. VIA Rail failed to demonstrate that the information withheld fell within the scope of the exemptions claimed. In addition, VIA Rail did not conduct a severance exercise to disclose non-exempt information. The Information Commissioner recommended that VIA Rail engage in a severance exercise, release all information which does not meet the criteria for exemption, and exercise discretion with regard to the remaining information at issue. The complaint is well founded.

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Nov 9
2020

Privy Council Office (Re), 2020 OIC 14

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. The access request consisted of minutes of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 1962. PCO claimed an extension of time to respond to the access request, in part to conduct consultations with other government institutions. PCO sent a letter informing the complainant that it would not be processing the access request because it had not received recommendations from other government institutions, and closed the file, according to its “no late file” policy.

The Act does not authorize PCO to fail to respond to an access request on the grounds that it has yet to receive recommendations from consulted institutions. The Office of the Information Commissioner concludes that PCO was in deemed refusal pursuant to subsection 10(3) of the Act.

The Information Commissioner recommended that the Clerk of the Privy Council take the necessary steps to respond to the access request by November 16, 2020 and revoke or revise its current policy so that the processing of all requests are in accordance with its obligations under the Act. PCO did not agree to the November 16, 2020 response date, but committed to responding by December 17, 2020. PCO confirmed that it had revoked its “no late file” policy.

The complaint is well founded. PCO has respected its commitment.

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Nov 9
2020

Privy Council Office (Re), 2020 OIC 13

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. The access request consisted of minutes of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 1968. PCO claimed an extension of time to respond to the access request, in part to conduct consultations with other government institutions. When the consulted institutions did not respond before the deadline, PCO sent a letter informing the complainant that it would not be processing the access request because it had not received recommendations from other government institutions, and closed the file, according to its “no late file” policy.

The Act does not authorize PCO to fail to respond to an access request on the grounds that it has yet to receive recommendations from consulted institutions. The Office of the Information Commissioner concludes that PCO was in deemed refusal pursuant to subsection 10(3) of the Act.

The Information Commissioner recommended that the Clerk of the Privy Council take the necessary steps to respond to the access request by November 16, 2020 and revoke or revise its current policy so that the processing of all requests are in accordance with its obligations under the Act. PCO did not agree to the November 16, 2020 response date, but committed to responding by December 17, 2020. PCO confirmed that it had revoked its “no late file” policy.

The complaint is well founded. PCO has respected its commitment.

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Nov 9
2020

Privy Council Office (Re), 2020 OIC 12

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. The access request consisted of minutes of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 1971. PCO claimed an extension of time to respond to the access request, in part to conduct consultations with other government institutions. When the consulted institutions did not respond before the deadline, PCO sent a letter informing the complainant that it would not be processing the access request because it had not received recommendations from other government institutions, and closed the file, according to its “no late file” policy.

The Act does not authorize PCO to fail to respond to an access request on the grounds that it has yet to receive recommendations from consulted institutions. The Office of the Information Commissioner concludes that PCO was in deemed refusal pursuant to subsection 10(3) of the Act.

The Information Commissioner recommended that the Clerk of the Privy Council take the necessary steps to respond to the access request by November 16, 2020 and revoke or revise its current policy so that the processing of all requests are in accordance with its obligations under the Act. PCO agreed to implement both recommendations.

The complaint is well founded. PCO has since responded to the access request.

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Oct 16
2020

Health Canada (Re), 2020 OIC 9

Institution
Health Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
30(1)(f)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

A complainant alleged that Health Canada had failed to identify all records responsive to a request under the Access to Information Act and ought to have also produced an index of all responsive records. The investigation showed that Health Canada had conducted a reasonable search for responsive records and there was no evidence of missing records. It was also determined that Health Canada’s refusal to provide the complainant with an index of all responsive records did not contravene its duty to assist obligations under subsection 4(2.1), as the creation of an index, with respect to this particular request, would have been unreasonable. The complaint is not well-founded.

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Oct 14
2020

Privy Council Office (Re), 2020 OIC 11

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. The access request consisted of minutes of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 1957 to 1958. PCO claimed an extension of time to respond to the access request, in part to conduct consultations with other government institutions. When the consulted institutions did not respond before the deadline, PCO sent a letter informing the complainant that it would not be processing the access request because it had not received recommendations from other government institutions, and closed the file, according to its “no late file” policy.

 The Act does not authorize PCO to fail to respond to an access request on the grounds that it has yet to receive recommendations from consulted institutions. The Office of the Information Commissioner concludes that PCO was in deemed refusal pursuant to subsection 10(3) of the Act.

The Information Commissioner recommended that the Clerk of the Privy Council take the necessary steps to respond to the access request by October 31, 2020 and revoke or revise PCO’s current policy so that the processing of all requests are in accordance with its obligations under the Act. PCO did not respond to the Commissioner’s recommendations.

 The complaint is well founded. At the time that this report was published, PCO had still not responded to the access request.

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Oct 14
2020

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Re), 2020 OIC 8

Institution
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Section of the Act
30(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The systemic investigation focused on how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) carried out its duty to provide timely responses to access to information requests between 2016-2017 and 2018-2019.

The RCMP contended that access to information in the Public Safety portfolio is complex and differs from other parts of the public service on the basis that it relates to sensitive investigative information and matters before the courts.

The investigation allowed the Information Commissioner to identify various issues. She shared her findings, and made 15 recommendations in six different areas. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness ignored most of the recommendations and failed to provide any explanation as to why the failings identified within RCMP operations would not be addressed. Furthermore, alternate solutions or measures that could remediate the RCMP’s ability to provide timely responses to access requests were not provided.

The Minister’s response falls short on many fronts in terms of what Canadians expect. Despite a dire situation, it would appear that the Minister has accepted the status quo.

The Information Commissioner tabled a special report to Parliament to highlight the issues raised.

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Sep 11
2020

Privy Council Office (Re), 2020 OIC 7

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

Privy Council Office (PCO) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act. PCO is therefore deemed to have refused to give access to records requested.

As a result of a complaint submitted to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) of Canada, the Information Commissioner recommended that PCO provide a final response to the request no later than June 1, 2020. PCO did not provide a final reponse by June 1, 2020. PCO did not indicate when it would be able to respond to the request, citing outstanding consultations with other provincial and federal departments, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operations.

The complaint is well founded.

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