Decisions

Type

173 decisions found

Nov 22
2021

Library and Archives Canada (Re), 2021 OIC 34

Institution
Library and Archives Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) did not conduct a reasonable search in response to a request for an Index containing information about all the military personnel who served in World War II.

The investigation determined that LAC did not have the index sought by the complainant. LAC explained that World War II personnel records contained not only information on personnel who served in World War II, but also those who served in Korea and other military deployments until 1971. These records are paper-based, and were neither digitized nor used to create an electronic database from which a complete list of World War II personnel could be obtained.

While LAC’s access to information responses to specific queries may have given the false impression to the requester that an index of World War II personnel exists, LAC does not in fact possess a complete index of the number of Canadians who served in World War II.

The complaint is not well founded.

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Nov 16
2021

Department of Justice Canada (Re), 2021 OIC 33

Institution
Justice Canada
Section of the Act
10
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Department of Justice Canada (Justice) did not conduct a reasonable search under the Access to Information Act when responding to an access request for records produced by the Senior General Counsel about the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference at the University of British Columbia. The request also sought specific records on the legal aspects of the security measures and all details of the trade agreement, as well as any records connected to the Hughes Inquiry regarding APEC between 1995 and 1999. Justice’s response was that they could not locate any responsive records to the request.

During the investigation, the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) determined that Justice did not task the National Litigation Sector (NLS). In February 2020, Justice confirmed that the NLS would be the most appropriate Office of Primary Interest (OPI) for the records regarding the APEC conference held by the Chief General Counsel. Six months later, in August 2020, Justice tasked the NLS’ British Columbia Regional Office and retrieved 41,843 pages of records and videos. Justice’s Access to Information and Privacy Office (ATIP) confirmed that, as of July 2, 2021, it has received and imported a total of 40,780 pages into its processing system.

In light of the above, I conclude that Justice did not conduct a reasonable search for records in response to the access request.

The complaint is well founded.

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Nov 15
2021

Library and Archives Canada (Re), 2021 OIC 32

Institution
Library and Archives Canada
Section of the Act
9(1)
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) did not respond to an access request within the time limits set out in the Access to Information Act.

On February 1, 2019, LAC received an access request for records regarding the LGBTQ community in the military.

LAC claimed a 565-day extension of time under paragraphs 9(1)(a) and 9(1)(b) to complete the processing of the request.

However, on September 18, 2020, LAC missed the extended due date, and on October 14, 2020, the OIC received the current complaint questioning the delay taken to process the request.

Given that LAC did not respond to the request by the extended deadline, it is deemed to have refused access pursuant to subsection 10(3). This refusal of access is ongoing and will continue until such time that LAC fully responds to the access request.

The Commissioner ordered the Librarian and Archivist of Canada to complete the processing of the access request and provide a response forthwith.

The complaint is well founded.

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Nov 10
2021

National Defence (Re), 2021 OIC 31

Institution
National Defence
Section of the Act
6
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Department of National Defence (DND) refused to process a request under the Access to Information Act for all records of misconduct by an identified individual.

DND refused to process the request claiming that the request for information about an individual other than the requester does not meet the requirements of section 6 of the Access to Information Act.

The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) viewed DND’s representations as falling well short of establishing that the request fails to provide sufficient detail to enable an experienced employee to identify records responsive to the request.

DND conceded that the request meets the requirements of section 6, and agreed to process the request as worded.

The complaint is well founded.

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Nov 1
2021

Decision pursuant to 6.1, 2021 OIC 30

Institution
-
Section of the Act
-
Decision Type
6.1 decision
Summary

An institution submitted an application to the Information Commissioner for approval to decline to act on an access to information request under subsection 6.1(1) of the Access to Information Act. In its application, the institution submitted that the request was both vexatious and an abuse of the right of access.

The Information Commissioner found that the institution established that the request is an abuse of the right of access. Given the Commissioner’s conclusion, it was not necessary to consider as well whether the request was also vexatious.

The application is approved.

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Oct 27
2021

Public Services and Procurement Canada (Re), 2021 OIC 29

Institution
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) did not conduct a reasonable search for a recording of a specific meeting, which took place over Microsoft Teams, as well as all communications regarding that meeting, in response to an access request under the Access to Information Act.

The investigation revealed that although Microsoft Teams has the capacity to record meetings, this function was not used to record the meeting in question. In addition, PSPC officials indicated that the meeting was informal and did not involve activities and decisions of business value for which there was any obligation to create a record.

Based on the evidence and representations received, the OIC is satisfied that PSPC took reasonable steps to identify and locate responsive records. However, no responsive records were identified.

The complaint is not well founded.

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Oct 25
2021

Veterans Affairs Canada (Re), 2021 OIC 28

Institution
Veterans Affairs Canada
Section of the Act
19
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) improperly withheld under section 19(1) (personal information) of the Access to Information Act the names and service numbers of individuals who had been awarded the Arctic Star.

VAC conceded that some of the information it had withheld, including the names of some recipients who had been deceased for more than 20 years, did not meet the requirements of subsection 19(1) and disclosed the information to the complainant during the course of the investigation.

However, VAC maintained that some names and service numbers had been properly withheld.

The Information Commissioner consulted the Privacy Commissioner who agreed that the names and service numbers can be released as they fall under the exception to the definition of “personal information” in paragraph 3(j) of the Privacy Act.

VAC agreed to implement the Information Commissioner’s recommendation to disclose the full names and service numbers of the recipients of the Arctic Star which had not yet been disclosed.

The complaint is well founded.

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Oct 21
2021

Library and Archives Canada (Re), 2021 OIC 27

Institution
Library and Archives Canada
Section of the Act
9(1)
10(3)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the 29,200-day time extension claimed by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to process a request made under the Access to Information Act is unreasonable.

The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) received the complaint on May 2, 2018.

LAC identified 780,000 pages of paper and microfilm records responsive to the request for Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) records on Project Anecdote.

LAC did not meet the requirements of a time extension under paragraph 9(1)(a); therefore, its time extension was invalid. In the absence of a valid time extension, institutions are required to respond to an access request within 30 days, which LAC also failed to do. Therefore, LAC is deemed to have refused access to the requested records pursuant to subsection 10(3).

The complaint is well founded.

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Sep 15
2021

Global Affairs Canada (Re), 2021 OIC 26

Institution
Global Affairs Canada
Section of the Act
9(1)
Decision Type
final report
Summary

On February 24, 2021, the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) received nine separate complaints about Global Affairs Canada (Global Affairs) missing the deadlines or taking an unreasonable time extension to respond to nine access requests made by the same individual under the Access to Information Act.

In four of the nine files, Global Affairs indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on their ability to process the requests.

Global Affairs has committed to providing a final response for each of the nine files by October 15, 2021, due to the significant amount of work that remains to be done.

All nine complaints are well founded.

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Sep 8
2021

Environment and Climate Change Canada (Re), 2021 OIC 25

Institution
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Section of the Act
19
20
Decision Type
final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) had improperly withheld information under subsection 19(1) (personal information), paragraph 20(1)(b) (confidential third-party financial, commercial, scientific or technical information), paragraph 20(1)(c) (financial impact on a third party), paragraph 21(1)(a) (advice or recommendations) and paragraph 21(1)(b) (accounts of consultations or deliberations) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for records related to a Request for Proposals (RFP).

The investigation revealed that ECCC did not exercise its discretion under subsection 19(2) to disclose publicly available personal information and seek consent from the individuals to disclose their personal information, where appropriate.

Where ECCC had withheld the evaluators’ comments on bid evaluation grids under both paragraphs 21(1)(a) and 21(1)(b), ECCC showed that the requirements for paragraph 21(1)(a) were met, and that discretion was appropriately considered, taking into account the specialized nature of the field, and the small number of competitors.

ECCC and the third party were able to show that the requirements for paragraphs 20(1)(b) and 20(1)(c) were met for specific sensitive content of the Response to the RFP, disclosure of which could indeed harm the third party’s competitive position in the market.

At the same time, the parties could not show that certain withheld financial and commercial information met all of the requirements of paragraphs 20(1)(b) and 20(1)(c), as absolute confidentiality is unreasonable when public funds are being spent, and some of the withheld information was publicly available.

ECCC gave notice to the Commissioner that it would follow her recommendations.

The complaint is well founded.

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