User Guide for social media accounts of the Office of
the Information Commissioner of Canada

The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) was established in 1983 under the Access to Information Act. The OIC assists individuals and organizations who believe that federal institutions have not respected their rights under the Act. It also ensures that the rights of government organizations and any involved third parties are respected.

Our social media accounts are an excellent way to interact in a clear, expeditious and user-friendly manner with Canadians who are interested in access to information, as well as in government transparency and accountability. We are looking to communicate information beyond the usual Web experience, but we invite you all the same to visit our website for more detailed information.

Content

The Strategic Communications and Parliamentary Affairs team manages the following accounts on behalf of the OIC:

  • Facebook - Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada/Commissariat à l'information du Canada
  • Twitter - @OIC_CI_Canada

The OIC's posts follow the standards, practices and tone pre-established by social media users who are interested in access to information and related issues. We make an effort to ensure that our posts are inviting, instructive and sometimes entertaining.

If you follow us, you can expect the posts that we broadcast to cover some or all of the following:

  • Information concerning
    • events relating to access to information, whether the OIC is participating in them or not;
    • litigation of interest to the OIC;
    • appearances by the Commissioner before parliamentary committees;
    • Right to Know Week and Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award;
  • Links to
    • speeches by OIC employees;
    • annual or special reports;
    • relevant information that is produced or broadcast elsewhere (e.g. work by other commissioners, advocacy organizations, researchers, medias and others);
  • Current events, interesting facts, quotes, videos or comments relating to access to information, transparency and accountability, open data, etc.

    Links to other websites

    Where appropriate, OIC accounts may post comments containing links to websites not operated by the OIC or the Government of Canada. These links are provided solely for the convenience and interest of users. As is customary in different departments, the OIC is not responsible for the accuracy , timeliness or reliability of the content on these sites. The OIC offers no guarantees in this regard, and is not responsible for information contained on these links, nor does it endorse the sites and their content.

    Retweet

    The retransmission of a tweet (Twitter) or use of the "share" function (Facebook) does not mean that the OIC endorses the information. We may relay news, links and personal observations that we consider relevant to access to information.

    Official Languages

    The Office of the Information Commissioner respects the Official Languages Act and is committed to ensuring that information products of equal quality are available in English and French.

    All of our posts are therefore available in both official languages. However, as is customary in different departments, we will reply to comments and questions that require a response in the official language of origin. Retweets will only be delivered in the language of the original author.

    Users should be aware that some links will direct them to sites of organizations or other entities which are not subject to the Official Languages Act, and that these sources are available only in the language in which they were written.

    Following

    The fact that the OIC decides to follow a user does not mean that it supports that user, or his or her views. We follow accounts that we consider relevant to our mandate and our work - particularly when they relate to advocacy for access to information and research in that area.

    Similarly, the OIC does not systematically support all users who follow one of the OIC's accounts. We will take steps to remove or block a follower only if it is clear that the follower is a "bot" or is not respecting comments etiquette.

    Comments and interaction

    Comments and interaction are strongly encouraged. All wall posts (Facebook) as well as @Replies and direct messages (Twitter) will be read. Any emerging themes and helpful suggestions will be passed on to the appropriate persons at the OIC. While we will not be able to respond individually to every message, messages will be treated on a case-by-case basis, and we will reply to them when we consider it appropriate, and in the official language of origin.

    If we think that a comment or a question requires a response or further clarification, we may make an official response and disseminate the information through our other channels, such as our website or other social media.

    "Like" function

    Facebook users may use the "like" function on the OIC's accounts. In doing so, they allow OIC posts and updates to appear on their newsfeed.

    You must have a valid Facebook account to "like" the OIC's accounts.

    Favourite pages

    The OIC's favourite pages on Facebook may include (without being limited to) non‑profit organizations, associations and other government agencies that we believe correspond to our mandate or that we consider relevant to access to information.

    The appearance of a particular page as a "favourite" on the OIC profile does not imply any endorsement on our part.

    Comments etiquette

    We welcome your comments, and expect that the conversation observes the general rules of a respectful civil discourse. You assume full responsibility for your comments, and all comments are in the public domain. Please be sure that your comments are relevant and courteous.

    Note that the Office of the Information Commissioner does not tolerate offensive, disrespectful or abusive comments about an individual or organization. We do not discriminate against any opinions, but we also reserve the right to modify or refuse comments which are any of the following:

    • contrary to the principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
    • racist, hateful, sexist, homophobic, defamatory, insulting or life-threatening;
    • serious, unproven or inaccurate accusations against individuals or organizations;
    • aggressive, coarse, violent, obscene or pornographic;
    • personal attacks or defamatory statements;
    • comments that encourage or suggest unlawful activity;
    • messages not written by the sender (or the copyright holder, as appropriate);
    • solicitations, advertisements or endorsements concerning any financial, commercial or non-governmental organization; furthermore, we do not permit attempted defamation or fraud with respect to any financial, commercial or non-governmental organization;
    • announcements from labour or political organizations;
    • messages written in a language other than English or French;
    • comments not sent by the author or comments posted by anonymous or "bot" accounts;
    • repetitive copy-and-paste comments by multiple users;
    • messages that are unintelligible or unrelated to the topic;
    • messages posted in capitals only (these are difficult to read and can convey the impression of shouting);
    • messages too far off topic;
    • any other message which, in the view of the forum moderators, does not follow the normal flow of discussion.

    In brief, be respectful and ensure that your comments are relevant to the section in which they are posted.

    Any individual who does not adhere to these terms of use may be excluded temporarily or permanently from the dialogue spaces on this site. Users may also be reported to Facebook or Twitter if they do not adhere to the service provider's terms of use.

    Other important remarks:

    • We cannot enter into discussions concerning party politics or ongoing investigations.
    • We do not respond to requests for media interviews or questions of a personal nature.
    • We do not receive complaints through social media.
    • We are unable to respond to all comments posted; however, we will attempt to take part in discussions where possible.
    • The opinions of participants commenting on these pages do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the OIC.
    • You participate at your own risk, taking personal responsibility for your comments, your username and the information provided. To protect your own privacy and that of others, please do not include telephone numbers or email addresses in your comments.
    • Users may post video responses provided that they respect this comments etiquette.
    • We do not consider comments concerning the work or professional activity of persons employed by the Office of the Information Commissioner.

    For all requests for media interviews, or to obtain additional information on an ongoing investigation, we encourage you to make use of the traditional communication channels.

    If you wish to lodge a formal complaint pursuant to the Access to Information Act, you must submit it in writing to the Office of the Information Commissioner. Please note that the OIC does not process complaints received by email or through social media.

    Availability

    The number of posts will vary, depending on the number of articles and other relevant material published each day. We commit to update and closely monitor our various accounts during regular working hours, i.e. from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Like many social media users, however, we may sometimes update our account or reply to posts at other times of the day. We accept no responsibility for interruptions to service due to Twitter or Facebook downtime.

    Accessibility

    As third-party service providers, Twitter and Facebook are not bound by the Web accessibility policies of the Government of Canada.

    The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring a high level of accessibility, and works with third-party service providers to resolve problems in this regard.

    For more detailed information about accessibility and Facebook, please refer to the following link: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=440. A more accessible version of Twitter can be found at: http://www.accessibletwitter.com/.

    Copyright

    Information posted by the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada is subject to the Canadian Copyright Act. For further information, see the Important notices section of our website.

    Privacy

    The Twitter and Facebook accounts of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada are not Government of Canada websites. They represent our presence on the social media of third-party service providers. Users are encouraged to read the privacy policies of Twitter and Facebook.

    Information shared with the Office via social media is subject to the provisions of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. This means that the information you share through the OIC's Twitter and Facebook accounts can be captured, stored, consulted and disclosed in response to a request under either of those Acts.

    To protect your own privacy and that of others, the OIC recommends that you not include personal information in your comments or in the content you post. Personal information includes home addresses, telephone numbers, photographs containing images of identifiable individuals, and any other information consisting of personal information as defined in section 3 of the Privacy Act.

    OIC staff on social media

    Certain OIC employees have accounts on various social media. Despite their professional affiliation with the OIC, their posts do not represent the official position of the Office of the Information Commissioner. They are to be considered instead as the personal product of private citizens.

    Additional information

    If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact us through our Facebook or Twitter accounts, or through this email address: general@oic-ci.gc.ca

    The traditional way of contacting us for official correspondence are detailed in the Contact us section of our website.