Letter to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) (May 2024)

May 3, 2024

John Brassard, M.P.
Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI)
Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6 

Dear Mr. Chair:

I am writing to follow up on a number of items mentioned during my appearance at ETHI on

April 18, 2024. I am thankful for the committee’s continued advocacy for access to information and government transparency.

The topic of criminality as it relates to obstructing the right of access was raised during my appearance. There are two sections of the Access to Information Act (the Act) that provides for criminal offences: section 67, which prohibits the obstruction of investigations, and section 67.1, which prohibits destroying, altering, falsifying or concealing records with the intent of denying a right of access.

As mentioned during my appearance, I have no authority to investigate criminal offences. I can only disclose information to the Attorney General if there is evidence of a possible commission of an offence by a director, officer or employee of a government institution, under subsection 63(2)of the Act.

As requested by the Committee, please find below the cases in which information was disclosed to the Attorney General in the past. Despite what I stated during my appearance, there are actually five cases, not six. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Please note there are two additional investigations where the Commissioner at the time concluded that interference occurred in some files. These could not be referred under subsection 63(2) of the Act as the person involved was not an officer or an employee of a government institution:

I would like to point our that in my observations to the Government’s review of Access to Information, I recommended that the Act be amended to enable the Information Commissioner to disclose to the appropriate authority information relating to the commission of an offence against a law of Canada or a province by any person (Recommendations 16 and 17).

During my appearance, I was also asked by a member of the committee to provide an example of a vexatious access to information request. You can find 19 cases in the OIC’s decision database that refer to applications submitted by institutions to decline to act on requests that are vexatious, made in bad faith or otherwise an abuse of the right to make a request for access to records, under subsection 6.1(1) of the Act. Each of them outlines the reasons and principles behind my decisions.

As requested, I am also pleased to provide the number of complaints older than five years in my office’s inventory. We began fiscal year 2024-2025 with 2,654 complaints. Of that total, 42 complaints are older than 2019-2020, representing 1,6 % of my inventory.

In addition, as I mentioned during my appearance, the $1,2 million in additional funding provided to my office’s 2024-2025 Main Estimates was provided to cover the salary increases associated with renewed collective agreements negotiated by the Treasury Board Secretariat and therefore does not represent an increase in funding for my office.

Finally, with respect to the request for all the documents produced in connection with the four court mandamus proceedings that I initiated to compel compliance with my orders, I have attached to this letter a list of documents (representing 97 pages) that were produced in one of the four mandamus proceedings, for your information. For efficiency purposes, since translation would be required in order for me to share the documents with the Committee, I would like to confirm which documents the Committee would like to receive for the mandamuses filed. I am available should the committee wish to discuss this matter further.

Should you and the other members of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics have any questions following this letter, please have the committee staff contact Manon Côté, my Manager of Parliamentary and Stakeholders Relations, by email



Caroline Maynard
Information Commissioner of Canada

c.c.: Mr. Darren Fisher, Vice-Chair

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

Mr. René Villemure, Vice-Chair
Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

Ms. Nancy Vohl, Clerk
Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics


Documents associated with the mandamus filled against Trans Mountain Corporation

  • Applicant’s motion record – Motion for judgment on consent (95 pages)
    • Notice of Motion
    • Notice of application
    • Affidavits – Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
    • Written representations in support of the motion for judgment on consent
    • Consent of the parties to the motion
    • Draft Order
  • Order from the Court (2 pages)
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