Wide distribution of information undermines claim of confidentiality

Complaint: Canada Post refused to disclose its manual on mail delivery because it considered the information in it to be its confidential commercial information protected by section 18.1.

Investigation: The OIC disagreed with Canada Post’s application of section 18.1, since the institution had not treated the manual as confidential. It was available to all mail carriers and at sorting facilities across the country.

Outcome: Canada Post released the section of the manual dealing specifically with car shelters (the information the requester had sought), and the complaint was settled.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • Canada Post must have consistently treated information as confidential in order to properly exempt it under section 18.1. The wide distribution of the manual to mail carriers and sorting facilities undermined Canada Post’s claim of confidentiality.
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