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

599 decisions found

Apr 16
2024

National Defence (Re), 2024 OIC 13

Institution
National Defence
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that National Defence (DND) did not respond to an access request submitted under the Access to Information Act within the 30-day period, as required by section 7. The request was for correspondence related to the hiring process by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Corporate Services at Canadian Forces Base Suffield for the position of General Safety Officer. The allegation falls under paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The investigation determined DND did not respond by the required date and is deemed to have refused access to the requested records under subsection 10(3). The delay was caused by a lack of responsiveness from one office of primary interest.

The Information Commissioner ordered DND to provide a response to the access request no later than the 36th business day following the date of the final report.

DND gave notice to the Commissioner that it would be implementing the order.

The complaint is well founded.

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Apr 1
2024

Library and Archives Canada (Re), 2024 OIC 12

Institution
Library and Archives Canada
Section of the Act
9(1)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the length of the extension of time Library and Archives Canada (LAC) took under subsection 9(1) of the Access to Information Act to respond to an access request was unreasonable. The request was for all Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) records relating to project Anecdote. The complaint falls under paragraph 30(1)(c) of the Act.

LAC extended the time period by 23,725 days under paragraphs 9(1)(a) and (b).

LAC identified 780,000 pages of paper and microfilm records responsive to this request, that will have to be converted into an electronic format.

LAC did not demonstrate why the request would be processed by a single employee, nor why the tasks were calculated consecutively rather than concurrently.

Furthermore, not all of the records have been retrieved and analyzed yet, so LAC was not in a position to specify the exact number of records that would have to be sent for consultation.

LAC did not show that the extension of time is for a reasonable period, having regard to the circumstances. Therefore, the extension of time is invalid and LAC is deemed to have refused to give access to the requested records pursuant to subsection 10(3).

The complaint is well founded.

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Mar 29
2024

Privy Council Office, 5822-01691

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2020-00583
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
Yes
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request on or before July 5, 2024.
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Mar 28
2024

Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science (Re), 2024 OIC 11

Institution
Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science
Section of the Act
14
16(1)(c)
18
68
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation (Ingenium) improperly withheld information under section 14 (federal-provincial affairs), paragraphs 16(1)(c) (conduct of investigations), 18(b) (competitive position of government institutions or negotiations by government institutions), 18(d) (government financial interests) and subsection 19(1) (personal information) of the Access to Information Act. This was in response to an access request for records related to the loan of objects for the exhibit "Autopsy of a Murder." The allegation falls under paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The application of subsection 19(1) to withhold signatures was removed from the scope of the complaint.

During the investigation, Ingenium decided to no longer rely on paragraph 16(1)(c) to withhold information. Ingenium also decided to disclose information that it had withheld under paragraphs 18(b) and 18(d), and provided additional information to assist the complainant in interpreting the records received. Given these efforts, paragraphs 18(b) and 18(d) and subsection 19(1) were no longer at issue.

During the investigation, Ingenium invoked paragraph 68(c) (material placed by others in certain institutions). This exclusion was applied concurrently with section 14 to withhold photographs.

Ingenium did not show that the information met the requirements of paragraph 68(c). In addition, Ingenium did not show that the information met all the requirements of section 14, in particular Ingenium did not show that, if disclosed, the information could reasonably be expected to harm the conduct of federal-provincial affairs.

The Information Commissioner ordered that Ingenium disclose the records. Ingenium gave notice that it would implement the order.

The complaint is well founded.

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Mar 26
2024

Health Canada (Re), 2024 OIC 10

Institution
Health Canada
Section of the Act
14
16(1)(c)
18
68
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the length of the extension of time Health Canada took under subsection 9(1) of the Access to Information Act to respond to an access request was unreasonable. The request was for information concerning an application for religious exemption to serve ayahuasca under the provisions of section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(c) of the Act.

Health Canada claimed a 1,000-day extension of time under paragraphs 9(1)(a) and 9(1)(b) to complete the processing of the request. If the extension were valid, the time limit for the response would be December 19, 2025.

During the investigation, Health Canada showed that it met all the requirements of paragraphs 9(1)(a) and (b), in particular that the calculation of the time extension was sufficiently logical and supportable, that providing access to the records within any materially lesser period of time than the one asserted would unreasonably interfere with its operations, and that the consultations could not reasonably be completed within 30 days.

Health Canada demonstrated that the extension was reasonable and the due date to respond to the access request remains December 19, 2025. The Information Commissioner invited the complainant and Health Canada to collaborate to reduce the scope of the request so that fewer records will need to be processed and a response to the request could be released sooner.

The complaint is not well founded.

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Mar 25
2024

Canada Border Services Agency (Re), 2024 OIC 09

Institution
Canada Border Services Agency
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleges that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) did not conduct a reasonable search in response to an access request under the Access to Information Act. This was in response to a request for any assessments of cybersecurity and data breach risks associated with the ArriveCan application.

The complainant questioned the fact that they have received no information regarding specific named companies and/or expenses which they felt should have been found in the documents received, given the subject of their access request.

The OIC sought information from CBSA related to the program areas tasked to search for records and the parameters of the search. The OPI most likely to have records relevant to the access request under their control, searched for records in the appropriate repositories and provided these records to the Access to Information and Privacy unit for processing. As a result, the Information Commissioner concluded that CBSA conducted a reasonable search for records.

The complaint is not well founded.

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Mar 21
2024

Health Canada, 5823-00984

Institution
Health Canada
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2022-001663
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.
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Mar 21
2024

Health Canada, 5822-04100

Institution
Health Canada
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2022-000485 / MK
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
No response
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request no later than the 60th business day after receipt of the final report.
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Mar 20
2024

Health Canada, 5823-00565

Institution
Health Canada
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2022-001572
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 60th business day following receipt of the final report.
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Mar 20
2024

Privy Council Office, 5822-05404

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2021-00207
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
Yes
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request by June 11, 2024.
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