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

Act current to 2019-07-01 and last amended on 2019-06-21. Previous Versions

PART 1Access to Government Records (continued)

Access (continued)

Requests for Access

Marginal note:Request for access to record

 A request for access to a record under this Part shall be made in writing to the government institution that has control of the record and shall provide sufficient detail to enable an experienced employee of the institution to identify the record with a reasonable effort.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 6
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 6(E)

Marginal note:Reasons for declining to act on request

  •  (1) With the Information Commissioner’s written approval, the head of a government institution may, before giving a person access to a record or refusing to do so, decline to act on the person’s request if, in the opinion of the head of the institution, the request is vexatious, is made in bad faith or is otherwise an abuse of the right to make a request for access to records.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (1.1) The head of a government institution is not authorized under subsection (1) to decline to act on a person’s request for a record for the sole reason that the information contained in it has been published under Part 2.

  • Marginal note:Time limit suspended

    (1.2) If the head of a government institution communicates with the Information Commissioner to obtain his or her approval to decline to act, the 30-day period set out in section 7 — and any extension to it under section 9 — is suspended during the period beginning on the day on which the head of the institution communicates with the Information Commissioner and ending on the day on which he or she receives the Information Commissioner’s decision in writing.

  • Marginal note:Notice — suspension

    (1.3) The head of the institution shall give written notice to the person who made the request for access to a record under this Part of the suspension of the period, and of the reasons for the suspension, at the same time as they communicate with the Information Commissioner to obtain his or her approval to decline to act.

  • Marginal note:Notice — end of suspension

    (1.4) If the Information Commissioner refuses to give his or her approval, the head of the institution shall, on receiving the Information Commissioner’s decision in writing, give written notice to the person who made the request for access to a record under this Part of the refusal and of the date on which the running of the period resumes in accordance with subsection (1.2).

  • Marginal note:Notice

    (2) If the head of a government institution declines to act on the person’s request, they shall give the person written notice of their decision to decline to act on the request and their reasons for doing so.

  • 2019, c. 18, s. 6.1

Marginal note:Notice where access requested

 Where access to a record is requested under this Part, the head of the government institution to which the request is made shall, subject to sections 8 and 9, within 30 days after the request is received,

  • (a) give written notice to the person who made the request as to whether or not access to the record or a part thereof will be given; and

  • (b) if access is to be given, give the person who made the request access to the record or part thereof.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 7
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 6.2
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 41(E)

Marginal note:Transfer of request

  •  (1) Where a government institution receives a request for access to a record under this Part and the head of the institution considers that another government institution has a greater interest in the record, the head of the institution may, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by regulation, within fifteen days after the request is received, transfer the request and, if necessary, the record to the other government institution, in which case the head of the institution transferring the request shall give written notice of the transfer to the person who made the request.

  • Marginal note:Deeming provision

    (2) For the purposes of section 7, where a request is transferred under subsection (1), the request shall be deemed to have been made to the government institution to which it was transferred on the day the government institution to which the request was originally made received it.

  • Marginal note:Meaning of greater interest

    (3) For the purpose of subsection (1), a government institution has a greater interest in a record if

    • (a) the record was originally produced in or for the institution; or

    • (b) in the case of a record not originally produced in or for a government institution, the institution was the first government institution to receive the record or a copy thereof.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 8
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 41(E)

Marginal note:Extension of time limits

  •  (1) The head of a government institution may extend the time limit set out in section 7 or subsection 8(1) in respect of a request under this Part for a reasonable period of time, having regard to the circumstances, if

    • (a) the request is for a large number of records or necessitates a search through a large number of records and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the government institution,

    • (b) consultations are necessary to comply with the request that cannot reasonably be completed within the original time limit, or

    • (c) notice of the request is given pursuant to subsection 27(1)

    by giving notice of the extension and, in the circumstances set out in paragraph (a) or (b), the length of the extension, to the person who made the request within thirty days after the request is received, which notice shall contain a statement that the person has a right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner about the extension.

  • Marginal note:Notice of extension to Information Commissioner

    (2) Where the head of a government institution extends a time limit under subsection (1) for more than thirty days, the head of the institution shall give notice of the extension to the Information Commissioner at the same time as notice is given under subsection (1).

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 9
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 41(E)

Marginal note:Where access is refused

  •  (1) Where the head of a government institution refuses to give access to a record requested under this Part or a part thereof, the head of the institution shall state in the notice given under paragraph 7(a)

    • (a) that the record does not exist, or

    • (b) the specific provision of this Part on which the refusal was based or, where the head of the institution does not indicate whether a record exists, the provision on which a refusal could reasonably be expected to be based if the record existed,

    and shall state in the notice that the person who made the request has a right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner about the refusal.

  • Marginal note:Existence of a record not required to be disclosed

    (2) The head of a government institution may but is not required to indicate under subsection (1) whether a record exists.

  • Marginal note:Deemed refusal to give access

    (3) Where the head of a government institution fails to give access to a record requested under this Part or a part thereof within the time limits set out in this Part, the head of the institution shall, for the purposes of this Part, be deemed to have refused to give access.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 10
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 39

Marginal note:Application fee

  •  (1) Subject to this section, a person who makes a request for access to a record under this Part shall pay, at the time the request is made, any application fee of not more than $25, that may be prescribed by regulation.

  • Marginal note:Waiver

    (2) The head of a government institution to which a request for access to a record is made under this Part may waive the requirement to pay a fee or a part of a fee under this section or may refund a fee or a part of a fee paid under this section.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 11
  • 1992, c. 21, s. 2
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 7

Access Given

Marginal note:Access to record

  •  (1) A person who is given access to a record or a part thereof under this Part shall, subject to the regulations, be given an opportunity to examine the record or part thereof or be given a copy thereof.

  • Marginal note:Language of access

    (2) Where access to a record or a part thereof is to be given under this Part and the person to whom access is to be given requests that access be given in a particular official language, a copy of the record or part thereof shall be given to the person in that language

    • (a) forthwith, if the record or part thereof already exists under the control of a government institution in that language; or

    • (b) within a reasonable period of time, if the head of the government institution that has control of the record considers it to be in the public interest to cause a translation to be prepared.

  • Marginal note:Access to record in alternative format

    (3) Where access to a record or a part thereof is to be given under this Part and the person to whom access is to be given has a sensory disability and requests that access be given in an alternative format, a copy of the record or part thereof shall be given to the person in an alternative format

    • (a) forthwith, if the record or part thereof already exists under the control of a government institution in an alternative format that is acceptable to that person; or

    • (b) within a reasonable period of time, if the head of the government institution that has control of the record considers the giving of access in an alternative format to be necessary to enable the person to exercise the person’s right of access under this Part and considers it reasonable to cause that record or part thereof to be converted.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 12
  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 100(E)
  • 1992, c. 21, s. 3
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 41(E)
 
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