Releasing investigation file closed in all but name unlikely to cause harm

Complaint: The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) cited section 16 to withhold an entire investigation file.

Investigation: The OIC learned that the investigation in question had been concluded, although not officially closed in the CHRC case management system. In addition, the OIC found that CHRC had not considered whether any information could be severed and the rest released.

Outcome: Although the requester did receive the records, it was only as the result of a second request.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • When applying section 16, institutions must consider whether releasing information about investigations that are essentially complete could cause harm to those same investigations.
  • Institutions must also consider the possibility of severing information under section 25 and disclosing the remaining portions of the requested records.
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