Section 68: Institutions must show excluded records can be obtained another way

Complaint: The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) excluded under section 68 newspaper articles from a response to a request as published information or material available for purchase.

Investigation: The OIC learned that the articles were protected by the Copyright Act and had been published by the respective copyright holders. The CHRC has obtained most of the articles through a subscription service agreement that restricts disclosure. In an effort to assist the requester, the CHRC sought the permission of the newspapers to disclose the articles.

Outcome: The CHRC released the articles published by the one company that responded to its request. Since all the other articles remained excluded, the CHRC provided the requester with a list containing the title, date published, newspaper and author of each article.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • When institutions exclude information under section 68 as being publicly available, they must show that the records can be obtained by other means, without the need for an access request.
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