Timely access requires adequate resources

Complaint: Transport Canada did not respond for 18 months to a request for information about the investigation of an accident that had occurred the previous year.

Investigation: The OIC found that Transport Canada had neglected the request for extended periods because it did not have enough staff to handle the volume of requests it had received. The analyst assigned to this request had more than 60 other requests to process.

Outcome: Transport Canada agreed to respond to the request by a specific date, and met that deadline.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • Institutions must devote adequate resources to fulfilling their duties under the Act.
  • When an access to information office is understaffed, the rights of requesters to a timely response are likely to be violated—in this case, severely.
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