Information must meet requirements of exemptions to be withheld

Complaint: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) cited both section 16 and section 23 to withhold almost all of a four-page agreement between itself and a company involved in the 2011 robocalls scandal that set out the terms for resolving various concerns.

Investigation: The CRTC told the OIC that releasing the agreement in full could jeopardize outstanding investigations related to the robocalls scandal (section 16). The CRTC also alleged that, since the process that led to the agreement was subject to the legal advice privilege (section 23), the agreement itself should be, too.

Outcome: The CRTC agreed to review the exemptions and released almost all the information it had previously withheld.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • Most of the information in the agreement was already in the public domain and, thus, disclosing it would not harm any outstanding investigations.
  • The agreement did not contain any legal advice between a solicitor and client; therefore, it could not be exempted under section 23.
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