Additional and expanded efforts required for thorough search

Complaint: Library and Archives Canada (LAC) did not locate all the records it held related to a man’s 1939 attempt to sabotage a B.C. smelting operation, and withheld information under three exemptions.

Investigation: Since LAC’s initial response only included 165 pages, the OIC questioned the completeness of the institution’s search through its holdings.

Outcome: LAC carried out additional searches of more record groups, such that the requester received seven supplementary releases. LAC also decided to no longer rely on two exemptions to withhold records, and released almost all of the information it had withheld under a third.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • The institution had, in the end, conducted a reasonable search when it reviewed seven additional record groups and explained to the requester why records might not have been preserved.
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