The complainant alleged that the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) did not conduct a reasonable search in response to an access request made under the Access to Information Act for all emails sent and received by a specified senior executive from January 1, 2019 to July 8, 2019. The complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act. In addition, the complainant questioned whether the request was processed without regard to the identity of the person making the request. This aspect of the complaint falls within paragraph 30(1)(f) of the Act. Finally, the complainant further alleged that the CSPS intentionally deleted records despite knowing that there was an existing access request for those records.
This investigation revealed several issues with the processing of this request including, but not limited to: keeping the request on hold for months without lawful authority; failing to retain records responsive to an active access request; and an inadequate search for records as evidenced by the additional records that were ultimately found and sent to the complainant. The Information Commissioner concluded that the CSPS did not initially conduct a reasonable search in response to the access request. Also, while it is clear that the CSPS mishandled the processing of this request, the Commissioner did not find evidence related to the commission of an offense under the Act in the context of the investigation. Lastly, with regard to the allegation that the complainant’s identity was taken into consideration during the processing of the request, the Commissioner did not find evidence of this during the course of the investigation. The complaint is well founded.