Timeframe for filing a complaint
Under section 31 of the Access to Information Act, requesters may file a complaint with the Information Commissioner related to an access request up to 60 days after the day:
- the requester receives a notice under section 7 that the institution refuses to grant access to the requested records (this includes time extension notices; see section 9);
- the requester receives part or all of the requested records; or
- in any other case, the requester becomes aware that grounds for a complaint exist.
Requesters may also submit a delay complaint when the institution has not responded within 30 days after it received the access request, and no time extension has been claimed by the institution.
The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) does not accept complaints it receives after the 60-day time period mentioned above has expired and notifies requesters accordingly.
Determining the 60-day timeframe
The 60-day time period often commences upon receipt of the institution’s response to the access request or of a notice under section 7. The OIC may take into account proof of receipt of the response or notice by the requester, documentation in the institution’s file confirming the delivery date, or postmarks or other transmission dates on documents. As such, it is important for institutions to document when they responded to access requests or gave a notice under section 7.