Inappropriate to refuse to confirm or deny existence of known information

Complaint: Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) refused to confirm or deny the existence of records related to a bid for an integrated analytics solution, citing subsection 10(2).

Investigation: The OIC learned that PSPC had used this exemption despite having posted information about the bid, including the bid number and the product or service being sought, on the Internet.

Outcome: The OIC did not agree that PSPC could apply subsection 10(2) in these circumstances. PSPC subsequently released a significant amount of information to the requester.


Information Commissioner’s position

  • Generally, it is not reasonable for institutions to apply subsection 10(2) when the existence or non-existence of records is already known.
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