Institutions must provide evidence that information is commercial

Complaint: Canada Post withheld data tables showing the number of male and female mail carriers, and the number of rural and suburban mail carriers. It did so claiming that the tables were its confidential commercial information protected by section 18.1.

Investigation: Canada Post provided no evidence this information was commercial, or that it had been kept confidential. In fact, similar information was publicly available on Service Canada’s website.

Outcome: Canada Post disclosed the tables in their entirety.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • Canada Post must demonstrate that the information is commercial and must have consistently treated it as confidential in order to properly exempt it under section 18.1.
  • Public availability of similar information can undermine a claim of confidentiality.
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