Decisions

The Information Commissioner publishes the final reports on her investigations on this website when she deems them to be of value in providing guidance to both institutions and complainants.

The Office of the Information Commissioner has established the Decisions Database to enable users to search final reports and other decisions, which outline the reasons and principles behind the Commissioner’s decisions and filter them using a number of criteria.

This database is updated regularly and continues to grow as more final reports, decisions and orders are added. The dates indicated refer to the date on which the decision was rendered.

Institutions are legally obliged to abide by an order from the Commissioner unless they apply to the Federal Court for a review of the matter that is the subject of the order. The Access to Information Act does not provide any other alternative to complying with the order. 

To learn more about the Information Commissioner’s orders, please visit our Frequently asked questions.

Other Corporate publications are available on the website.

Filters
Decision Type

595 decisions found

May 1
2024

Canada Border Services Agency (Re), 2024 OIC 15

Institution
Canada Border Services Agency
Section of the Act
30(3)
Decision Type
Recommendation
Final report
Summary

In February 2023, the Information Commissioner initiated a systemic investigation to better understand and address the root cause of the growing number of access requests made to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The complaint is well founded. CBSA should expect to continue to receive a high number of access requests for immigration information because Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not implemented an effective system that would allow client immigration information to be retrieved directly. CBSA must find ways to meets its obligations under the Act.

In February 2024, the Minister of Pubic Safety and Emergency Preparedness was informed of the Commissioner’s findings. A total of four (4) recommendations were made to the Minister and a response to the Commissioner’s recommendations was received in April 2024.

In May 2024, the Commissioner tabled a special report in Parliament pursuant to paragraph 39(1) of the Act. The special report sheds light on how the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) units of both institutions are being negatively impacted by IRCC’s lack of progress in introducing an alternative to access to information requests that provides clients with information they are seeking.  

Read more
Apr 23
2024

Communications Security Establishment Canada (Re), 2024 OIC 20

Institution
Communications Security Establishment Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSE) did not respond to an access request submitted under the Access to Information Act within the 30-day period, as required by section 7. The request was for records in the following files (listed on page 173 of release A-2020-00042): - A220 Committees – General File 168 - Assessment Review Group (ARG) - A220 Committees – General File 168-1 - General - A220 Committees – General File 168-16 - ARG Record of Decision - A220 Committees – General File 168-17 – ARG Notes. The allegation falls under paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The investigation determined CSE did not respond by the required date and is deemed to have refused access to the requested records under subsection 10(3). The delay was caused by both neither the review of records nor the developing of consultation packages to be sent the relevant institutions occurring in a timely manner.

The Information Commissioner ordered that CSE provide a response to the access request no later than the 72nd business day following the date of the final report.

CSE gave notice to the Commissioner that it would not be implementing the order and would instead apply for a review by the Federal Court.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Apr 23
2024

Communications Security Establishment Canada (Re), 2024 OIC 19

Institution
Communications Security Establishment Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSE) did not respond to an access request submitted under the Access to Information Act within the 30-day period, as required by section 7. The request was for the records in the following files (listed on page 181 of release A-2020-00042): - A220 Committees – General File 280 - Intelligence Assessment Committee - A220 Committees – General File 280-1 – General. The allegation falls under paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The investigation determined CSE did not respond by the required date and is deemed to have refused access to the requested records under subsection 10(3). The delay was caused by both the records not being processed in a timely manner and delays in sending consultation packages to the relevant institutions.

The Information Commissioner ordered that CSE provide a response to the access request no later than the 72nd business day following the date of the final report.

CSE gave notice to the Commissioner that it would not be implementing the order and would instead apply for a review by the Federal Court.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Apr 23
2024

Communications Security Establishment Canada (Re), 2024 OIC 18

Institution
Communications Security Establishment Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSE) did not respond to an access request submitted under the Access to Information Act within the 30-day period, as required by section 7. The request was for records related to a previous access request to CSE (A-2021-000036) expanding the time of search to the date the request was received. The allegation falls under paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The investigation determined CSE did not respond by the required date and is deemed to have refused access to the requested records under subsection 10(3). The delay was caused by a lack of responsiveness from two offices of primary interest.

The Information Commissioner ordered that CSE provide a response to the access request no later than the 36th business day following the date of the final report.

CSE gave notice to the Commissioner that it would be implementing the order.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Apr 23
2024

Privy Council Office (Re), 2024 OIC 17

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the Privy Council Office (PCO) did not conduct a reasonable search in response to an access request under the Access to Information Act for all emails sent to or from PCO related to the "[Canadian Security Intelligence Service] CSIS Issues Management Brief" with subject "Defensive briefings to two Members of Parliament regarding PRC foreign interference activity," which was sent by CSIS to PCO on 2021-05-31. The allegation falls within paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The investigation determined that the Security and Intelligence Unit did not retrieve all relevant records when they were tasked with the retrieval of responsive records. PCO was unable to show that it conducted a reasonable search for records responsive to the access request. The Office of the Information Commissioner asked PCO to conduct a second search for all relevant records. As a result, 11 pages of additional records were found within the Security and Intelligence Unit.

The Information Commissioner ordered that PCO provide a new response to the access request on the 36th business day following the date of the final report.

PCO gave notice to the Commissioner that it would be implementing the order.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Apr 22
2024

National Defence (Re), 2024 OIC 16

Institution
National Defence
Section of the Act
10(3)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that National Defence (DND) did not respond to an access request submitted under the Access to Information Act within the 30-day period, as required by section 7. The request was for information relating to flights of Canadian government owned planes which landed in Lebanon. The allegation falls under paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The investigation determined DND did not respond by the required date and is deemed to have refused access to the requested records under subsection 10(3). The delay was caused by a lack of responsiveness from a number of offices of primary interest.

The Information Commissioner ordered that DND provide a complete response to the access request no later than 60 business days after the date of the final report.

DND gave notice to the Commissioner that it would be implementing the order.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Apr 17
2024

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (Re), 2024 OIC 14

Institution
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) had improperly withheld information under paragraph 18(b) (negotiations by government institution) and paragraph 20(1)(c) (financial impact on a third party) of the Access to Information Act in response to an access request for a list of grants and contributions approved under specific ISED programs, including assistance type and other specific details. The allegation falls under paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

ISED could not show that it met all the requirements of paragraph 18(b), as the harm alleged by ISED already exists, and ISED did not demonstrate how further harm could be caused by the release of the information.

The Information Commissioner ordered that ISED disclose the information withheld under paragraph 18(b). ISED gave notice to the Commissioner that it would implement the order, while maintaining the exemption pursuant to paragraph 20(1)(c).

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Apr 16
2024

National Defence (Re), 2024 OIC 13

Institution
National Defence
Section of the Act
30(1)(a)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that National Defence (DND) did not respond to an access request submitted under the Access to Information Act within the 30-day period, as required by section 7. The request was for correspondence related to the hiring process by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Corporate Services at Canadian Forces Base Suffield for the position of General Safety Officer. The allegation falls under paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Act.

The investigation determined DND did not respond by the required date and is deemed to have refused access to the requested records under subsection 10(3). The delay was caused by a lack of responsiveness from one office of primary interest.

The Information Commissioner ordered DND to provide a response to the access request no later than the 36th business day following the date of the final report.

DND gave notice to the Commissioner that it would be implementing the order.

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Apr 1
2024

Library and Archives Canada (Re), 2024 OIC 12

Institution
Library and Archives Canada
Section of the Act
9(1)
Decision Type
Order
Final report
Summary

The complainant alleged that the length of the extension of time Library and Archives Canada (LAC) took under subsection 9(1) of the Access to Information Act to respond to an access request was unreasonable. The request was for all Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) records relating to project Anecdote. The complaint falls under paragraph 30(1)(c) of the Act.

LAC extended the time period by 23,725 days under paragraphs 9(1)(a) and (b).

LAC identified 780,000 pages of paper and microfilm records responsive to this request, that will have to be converted into an electronic format.

LAC did not demonstrate why the request would be processed by a single employee, nor why the tasks were calculated consecutively rather than concurrently.

Furthermore, not all of the records have been retrieved and analyzed yet, so LAC was not in a position to specify the exact number of records that would have to be sent for consultation.

LAC did not show that the extension of time is for a reasonable period, having regard to the circumstances. Therefore, the extension of time is invalid and LAC is deemed to have refused to give access to the requested records pursuant to subsection 10(3).

The complaint is well founded.

Read more
Mar 29
2024

Privy Council Office, 5822-01691

Institution
Privy Council Office
Section of the Act
7
Decision Type
Delay in responding to a request
Order
Institution file #
A-2020-00583
Did the institution give notice it would implement the order?
Yes
Summary
Order: provide a complete response to the access request on or before July 5, 2024.
Read more
Date modified:
Submit a complaint