Submitting a complaint
If you submitted a request for information to a federal government institution under the Access to Information Act and you are not satisfied with how the institution processed it, you may complain to us.
Code of communications
We are committed to communicating with you in a respectful, professional and civil manner. Similarly, we expect the same courtesy from you.
While understanding that the circumstances or issues you are communicating may be stressful, we will not accept abusive behaviour and communications towards staff, and are required by law to protect our employees from it. Such behaviour includes threats, vexatious or harassing comments or conduct, sexual harassment, intimidation, yelling or screaming, and obscene, racist and discriminatory statements.
Repeated behaviour of this kind may result in our communicating with you only in writing or otherwise restricting future interactions with you.
Online complaint process
The online complaint form has five steps:
Step 1: Registration
You will be asked to enter basic personal information such as your name, telephone number and email or mailing address.
Step 2: Complaint
You will be asked to provide general information about your complaint, including the following:
- Whether you are making this complaint on your own behalf.
- The name of the institution you are complaining about.
- The type of complaint (you may choose more than one):
- Deemed refusal (delay): The 30-day and any extended time periods have elapsed and a final response from the institution has not been received
- Time extension: Extension of time claimed under section 9 of the Access to Information Act
- Fees assessed: the institution is requiring the payment of excessive fees to process the request
- Exemptions/exclusions: The records were entirely or partially withheld by institutions under one or more sections of the Access to Information Act
- Incomplete search/no records response: The institution found no records or provided fewer records than expected in response to your request (i.e. records/more records should exist). This type of complaint is different and separate from an exemptions complaint (records were found but were entirely or partially withheld (‘blacked out’) under one or more of sections 13 to 24, 26, 68 or 69 of the Act).
- Any other matter: Under 30(1)(f) of the Act, the complaint must be in respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to records under the Access to information Act.
Step 3: Details
You will be asked to provide additional details about the type(s) of complaint selected in Step 2, including one or more of the following (you may make more than one entry, both overall and per type):
- The institution’s file number. (It usually starts with an A, e.g., A2019-05050.)
- The date you received a response from the institution.
- Any additional information you would like to share.
Step 4: Review
Review and correct the information you have entered.
Step 5: Submit
Once you click Submit, you will not be able to change the information you entered on the form.
Once you submit your complaint
You will immediately receive an email confirming that we received your complaint and providing you with a temporary reference number.
We will review your complaint and contact you to confirm it is registered or to obtain additional information. An investigator will contact you once the investigation begins.
When contacting us, please quote the temporary reference number provided in your email confirmation.