Access to Information Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1)

Act current to 2016-11-21 and last amended on 2016-04-05. Previous Versions

Marginal note:Disclosure authorized
  •  (1) The Information Commissioner may disclose or may authorize any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner to disclose information

    • (a) that, in the opinion of the Commissioner, is necessary to

      • (i) carry out an investigation under this Act, or

      • (ii) establish the grounds for findings and recommendations contained in any report under this Act; or

    • (b) in the course of a prosecution for an offence under this Act, a prosecution for an offence under section 131 of the Criminal Code (perjury) in respect of a statement made under this Act, a review before the Court under this Act or an appeal therefrom.

  • Marginal note:Disclosure of offence authorized

    (2) The Information Commissioner may disclose to the Attorney General of Canada information relating to the commission of an offence against a law of Canada or a province by a director, an officer or an employee of a government institution if, in the Commissioner’s opinion, there is evidence of such an offence.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 63;
  • R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 187;
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 157.
Marginal note:Information not to be disclosed

 In carrying out an investigation under this Act and in any report made to Parliament under section 38 or 39, the Information Commissioner and any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Information Commissioner shall take every reasonable precaution to avoid the disclosure of, and shall not disclose,

  • (a) any information or other material on the basis of which the head of a government institution would be authorized to refuse to disclose a part of a record requested under this Act; or

  • (b) any information as to whether a record exists where the head of a government institution, in refusing to give access to the record under this Act, does not indicate whether it exists.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “64”.
Marginal note:No summons

 The Information Commissioner or any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner is not a competent or compellable witness, in respect of any matter coming to the knowledge of the Commissioner or that person as a result of performing any duties or functions under this Act during an investigation, in any proceedings other than a prosecution for an offence under this Act, a prosecution for an offence under section 131 of the Criminal Code (perjury) in respect of a statement made under this Act, a review before the Court under this Act or an appeal therefrom.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 65;
  • R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 187.
Marginal note:Protection of Information Commissioner
  •  (1) No criminal or civil proceedings lie against the Information Commissioner, or against any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner, for anything done, reported or said in good faith in the course of the exercise or performance or purported exercise or performance of any power, duty or function of the Commissioner under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Libel or slander

    (2) For the purposes of any law relating to libel or slander,

    • (a) anything said, any information supplied or any document or thing produced in good faith in the course of an investigation by or on behalf of the Information Commissioner under this Act is privileged; and

    • (b) any report made in good faith by the Information Commissioner under this Act and any fair and accurate account of the report made in good faith in a newspaper or any other periodical publication or in a broadcast is privileged.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “66”.

Offences

Marginal note:Obstruction
  •  (1) No person shall obstruct the Information Commissioner or any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner in the performance of the Commissioner’s duties and functions under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Offence and punishment

    (2) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “67”.
Marginal note:Obstructing right of access
  •  (1) No person shall, with intent to deny a right of access under this Act,

    • (a) destroy, mutilate or alter a record;

    • (b) falsify a record or make a false record;

    • (c) conceal a record; or

    • (d) direct, propose, counsel or cause any person in any manner to do anything mentioned in any of paragraphs (a) to (c).

  • Marginal note:Offence and punishment

    (2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of

    • (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding $10,000, or to both; or

    • (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding $5,000, or to both.

  • 1999, c. 16, s. 1.

Exclusions

Marginal note:Act does not apply to certain materials

 This Act does not apply to

  • (a) published material or material available for purchase by the public;

  • (b) library or museum material preserved solely for public reference or exhibition purposes; or

  • (c) material placed in the Library and Archives of Canada, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Museum of Science and Technology, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights or the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 by or on behalf of persons or organizations other than government institutions.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 68;
  • R.S., 1985, c. 1 (3rd Supp.), s. 12;
  • 1990, c. 3, s. 32;
  • 1992, c. 1, s. 143(E);
  • 2004, c. 11, s. 22;
  • 2008, c. 9, s. 5;
  • 2010, c. 7, s. 5;
  • 2013, c. 38, s. 11.
Marginal note:Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

 This Act does not apply to any information that is under the control of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that relates to its journalistic, creative or programming activities, other than information that relates to its general administration.

  • 2006, c. 9, s. 159.
Marginal note:Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

 This Act does not apply to any information that is under the control of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited other than information that relates to

  • (a) its general administration; or

  • (b) its operation of any nuclear facility within the meaning of section 2 of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act that is subject to regulation by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission established under section 8 of that Act.

  • 2006, c. 9, s. 159.
Marginal note:Confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada
  •  (1) This Act does not apply to confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing,

    • (a) memoranda the purpose of which is to present proposals or recommendations to Council;

    • (b) discussion papers the purpose of which is to present background explanations, analyses of problems or policy options to Council for consideration by Council in making decisions;

    • (c) agenda of Council or records recording deliberations or decisions of Council;

    • (d) records used for or reflecting communications or discussions between ministers of the Crown on matters relating to the making of government decisions or the formulation of government policy;

    • (e) records the purpose of which is to brief ministers of the Crown in relation to matters that are before, or are proposed to be brought before, Council or that are the subject of communications or discussions referred to in paragraph (d);

    • (f) draft legislation; and

    • (g) records that contain information about the contents of any record within a class of records referred to in paragraphs (a) to (f).

  • Definition of Council

    (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), Council means the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, committees of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Cabinet and committees of Cabinet.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (3) Subsection (1) does not apply to

    • (a) confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada that have been in existence for more than twenty years; or

    • (b) discussion papers described in paragraph (1)(b)

      • (i) if the decisions to which the discussion papers relate have been made public, or

      • (ii) where the decisions have not been made public, if four years have passed since the decisions were made.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 69;
  • 1992, c. 1, s. 144(F).
 
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