Decisions

The Information Commissioner publishes the final reports on her investigations on this website when she deems them to be of value in providing guidance to both institutions and complainants.

The Office of the Information Commissioner has established the Decisions Database to enable users to search final reports and other decisions, which outline the reasons and principles behind the Commissioner’s decisions and filter them using a number of criteria.

This database is updated regularly and continues to grow as more final reports, decisions and orders are added. The dates indicated refer to the date on which the decision was rendered.

Institutions are legally obliged to abide by an order from the Commissioner unless they apply to the Federal Court for a review of the matter that is the subject of the order. The Access to Information Act does not provide any other alternative to complying with the order. 

To learn more about the Information Commissioner’s orders, please visit our Frequently asked questions.

Other Corporate publications are available on the website.

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Decision Type

474 decisions found

Dec 18
2023

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Re), 2023 OIC 42

Institution
Fisheries and Oceans
Section of the Act
13(1)
19(1)
20(1)(c)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) had improperly withheld information under paragraph 13(1)(c) (confidential information from government bodies), subsection 16(2) (security), paragraph 16(2)(c) (facilitating the commission of an offence), subsection 19(1) (personal information) and paragraph 20(1)(c) (financial impact on a third party) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for records about the Laval River slope stabilization project, at kilometre 680. This allegation falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The use of subsections 16(2) and 19(1) to withhold signatures when the name of the signing authority was indicated directly below was removed from the scope of the complaint.

The Information Commissioner concluded that the information withheld under subsection 19(1) met the criteria of the exemption.

DFO did not show that the information met all of the requirements of paragraph 13(1)(c), in particular the confidentiality requirement.

Neither DFO nor the third party showed that the information met all the requirements for the exemption under paragraph 20(1)(c).

The Commissioner ordered DFO to release all information that was previously withheld pursuant to paragraphs 13(1)(c) and 20(1)(c), with the exception of the information withheld under subsection 19(1).

The institution gave notice to the Commissioner that it would implement the order.

The complaint is well founded.

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Dec 11
2023

Global Affairs Canada (Re), 2023 OIC 43

Institution
Global Affairs Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Recommendation
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Global Affairs Canada (Global Affairs) did not conduct a reasonable search in response to an access request under the Access to Information Act. The request was for records related to roundtable discussions held in 2010 regarding international education and the "Statement of Principles for the Ethical Recruitment of International Students by Education Agents and Consultants", also known as the “London Statement”, as well as information related to the reasons why Canada chose not to endorse the statement. The allegation falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The investigation determined that additional records that would have been responsive to the request ought to have existed but, through inadvertence, they had not been preserved. Global Affairs conducted additional searches and found additional records.

The Information Commissioner recommended that Global Affairs save all records of business value to their corporate repositories and remind employees of their information management responsibilities.

The Commissioner also ordered Global Affairs to provide the additional records to the complainant. Global Affairs gave notice to the Commissioner that it would be implementing the recommendations and orders.

The complaint is well founded.

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Nov 23
2023

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 5823-01023

Institution
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2023-00100
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
Yes
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request no later than January 31, 2024.
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Nov 22
2023

Health Canada (Re), 2023 OIC 41

Institution
Health Canada
Section of the Act
20(1)(b)
20(1)(c)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Health Canada had improperly withheld information under paragraph 20(1)(b) (confidential third-party financial, commercial, scientific or technical information) and 20(1)(c) (financial impact on a third party) of the Access to Information Act. This was in response to an access request for records regarding an Abbreviated New Drug Submission (ANDS) for the medicinal ingredient “tacrolimus”. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The scope of the complaint was limited to the dates on which specific correspondence was exchanged between a third party and Health Canada, which were withheld under paragraphs 20(1)(b) and 20(1)(c) concurrently.

Health Canada and the third party did not show that all of the requirements of paragraphs 20(1)(b) and 20(1)(c) were met.

The Information Commissioner ordered Health Canada to disclose the dates within the records. Health Canada gave notice that it would implement the order.

The complaint is well founded.

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Nov 21
2023

Global Affairs Canada, 5823-01465

Institution
Global Affairs Canada
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2022-03337
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
Yes
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request no later than the 36th business day following the date of my final report.
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Nov 20
2023

Global Affairs Canada, 5822-06506

Institution
Global Affairs Canada
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2022-01174
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
Yes
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request no later than the 36th business day following the date of the final report.
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Nov 20
2023

Global Affairs Canada, 5822-06337

Institution
Global Affairs Canada
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2022-02606
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
Yes
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request no later than the 36th business day following receipt of the final report.
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Nov 20
2023

Notice under subsection 30(5), 2023 OIC 40

Institution
-
Section of the Act
30(4)
30(5)
Decision Type
Ceasing to investigate
Final report
Summary

The Information Commissioner of Canada gives notice under subsection 30(5) of the Access to Information Act that she has ceased to investigate seventeen complaints, pursuant to paragraphs 30(4)(a) and (b).

The Commissioner’s decision to cease to investigate these complainants is based on her finding that they are both vexatious and that further investigation is unnecessary having regard to all the circumstances.

The complainant alleged that the lengths of the time extensions taken by the institution on the seventeen requests were unreasonable. Upon initiation of the investigations into these complaints, it became apparent that the seventeen requests sought the same information as a previous request made by the requester, but broken down into smaller segments.

The previous request had been the subject of a complaint in which the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) had concluded that the length of the time extension taken by the institution was reasonable. The complainant did not apply to the Federal Court for a review of the subject matter of the complaint under subsection 41(1) of the Act.

The complainant alleged that the new requests were necessary in order to hold the institution to its commitment to provide regular interim responses on the original request. However, the institution provided evidence that it was in fact providing regular interim responses as per its commitment. In addition, the complainant made a comment during the investigation of the original complaint that if the OIC did not find in favour of the complainant, they would simply file new requests for the same information, in smaller and smaller increments.

In the circumstances, it can readily be inferred that the second series of complaints are directed towards circumventing the findings of the OIC’s previous investigation, while avoiding the recourse mechanism available to the complainant envisioned by the Act.

When a complainant does not agree with the result of an OIC investigation, the proper recourse is to apply to the Federal Court, under subsection 41(1) of the Act, for a review of the matter that is the subject of the complaint. The deadline to apply for that review is 35 business days after the date of the Final Report.

The Commissioner concluded that the complaints are vexatious and that it is unnecessary to continue to investigate these because they are substantively duplicative of the first complaint that was already investigated by the OIC.

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Nov 10
2023

National Defence, 5822-07599

Institution
National Defence
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2022-01234
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
Yes
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request no later than the 36th business day following the date of the final report.
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Nov 10
2023

Public Health Agency of Canada, 5822-06790

Institution
Public Health Agency of Canada
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2021-000623
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
Yes
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request no later than the 36th business day after receipt of the final report.
Read more
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