Exemptions require clear rationales

Complaint: Industry Canada withheld 230 pages in part and about 50 in their entirety from a study on the impact of downloads and file sharing on music purchases, citing several exemptions.

Investigation: The OIC reviewed all the exemptions claimed and agreed in many instances that the institution had applied them properly. However, most of the information withheld was not confidential third-party information (paragraphs 20(1)(b) and (c)) or advice and recommendations (paragraph 21(1)(a)).

Outcome: Industry Canada made two additional releases to the requester, withholding only portions of seven pages.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • When claiming exemptions, institutions must clearly show how and why the information they wish to withhold qualifies for those exemptions.
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