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

Act current to 2021-06-03 and last amended on 2020-06-21. Previous Versions

PART 1Access to Government Records (continued)

Office of the Information Commissioner (continued)

General

Marginal note:Principal office

 The principal office of the Information Commissioner shall be in the National Capital Region described in the schedule to the National Capital Act.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “60”

Marginal note:Security requirements

 The Information Commissioner and every person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner who receives or obtains information relating to any investigation under this Part or under any other Act of Parliament shall, with respect to access to and the use of that information, satisfy any security requirements applicable to, and take any oath of secrecy required to be taken by, persons who normally have access to and use of that information.

Marginal note:Confidentiality

 Subject to this Part, the Information Commissioner and every person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner shall not disclose any information that comes to their knowledge in the performance of their duties and functions under this Part.

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 Part, or

      • (ii) establish the grounds for findings, recommendations and orders set out in any report under this Part; or

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

Marginal note:Information not to be disclosed

 In carrying out an investigation under this Part and in any report published under subsection 37(3.1) or 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 Part; 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 Part, does not indicate whether it exists.

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 Part during an investigation, in any proceedings other than a prosecution for an offence under this Part, a prosecution for an offence under section 131 of the Criminal Code (perjury) in respect of a statement made under this Part, a review before the Court under this Part or an appeal therefrom.

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 Part.

  • 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 Part is privileged; and

    • (b) any report made in good faith by the Information Commissioner under this Part 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.

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 Part.

  • 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.

Marginal note:Obstructing right of access

  •  (1) No person shall, with intent to deny a right of access under this Part,

    • (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.

Exclusions

Marginal note:Part 1 does not apply to certain materials

 This Part does not apply to

  • (a) published material, other than material published under Part 2, 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
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 31
 
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