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

Act current to 2019-11-19 and last amended on 2019-08-28. Previous Versions

PART 1Access to Government Records (continued)

Third Party Intervention (continued)

 [Repealed, 2019, c. 18, s. 12]

Complaints

Marginal note:Receipt and investigation of complaints

  •  (1) Subject to this Part, the Information Commissioner shall receive and investigate complaints

    • (a) from persons who have been refused access to a record requested under this Part or a part thereof;

    • (b) from persons who have been required to pay an amount under section 11 that they consider unreasonable;

    • (c) from persons who have requested access to records in respect of which time limits have been extended pursuant to section 9 where they consider the extension unreasonable;

    • (d) from persons who have not been given access to a record or a part thereof in the official language requested by the person under subsection 12(2), or have not been given access in that language within a period of time that they consider appropriate;

    • (d.1) from persons who have not been given access to a record or a part thereof in an alternative format pursuant to a request made under subsection 12(3), or have not been given such access within a period of time that they consider appropriate;

    • (e) in respect of any publication or bulletin referred to in section 5; or

    • (f) in respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to records under this Part.

  • Marginal note:Complaints submitted on behalf of complainants

    (2) Nothing in this Part precludes the Information Commissioner from receiving and investigating complaints of a nature described in subsection (1) that are submitted by a person authorized by the complainant to act on behalf of the complainant, and a reference to a complainant in any other section includes a reference to a person so authorized.

  • Marginal note:Information Commissioner may initiate complaint

    (3) Where the Information Commissioner is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to investigate a matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to records under this Part, the Commissioner may initiate a complaint in respect thereof.

  • Marginal note:Reasons for refusing or ceasing to investigate

    (4) The Information Commissioner may refuse or cease to investigate a complaint if, in the Commissioner’s opinion,

    • (a) the complaint is trivial, frivolous or vexatious or is made in bad faith; or

    • (b) an investigation or any further investigation is unnecessary having regard to all the circumstances of the complaint, including that the complaint is already the subject of an investigation or that the subject matter of the complaint has already been the subject of a report by the Commissioner.

  • Marginal note:Notice

    (5) If the Information Commissioner refuses or ceases to investigate a complaint, he or she shall give a written notice to

    • (a) the complainant, stating the reasons for refusing or ceasing to investigate the complaint;

    • (b) the head of the government institution concerned, if the Commissioner provided the head of the institution with a notice under section 32;

    • (c) any third party that was entitled under paragraph 35(2)(c) to make and that made representations to the Commissioner in respect of the complaint; and

    • (d) the Privacy Commissioner, if the Information Commissioner consulted him or her under subsection 36(1.1) or section 36.2.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 30
  • 1992, c. 21, s. 4
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 13
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 39

Marginal note:Written complaint

 A complaint under this Part shall be made to the Information Commissioner in writing unless the Commissioner authorizes otherwise. If the complaint relates to a request by a person for access to a record, it shall be made within sixty days after the day on which the person receives a notice of a refusal under section 7, is given access to all or part of the record or, in any other case, becomes aware that grounds for the complaint exist.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 31
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 151
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 41(E)

Investigations

Marginal note:Notice of intention to investigate

 Before commencing an investigation of a complaint under this Part, the Information Commissioner shall notify the head of the government institution concerned of the intention to carry out the investigation and shall inform the head of the institution of the substance of the complaint.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 32
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 39

Marginal note:Notice to third parties

 Where the head of a government institution refuses to disclose a record requested under this Part or a part thereof and receives a notice under section 32 of a complaint in respect of the refusal, the head of the institution shall forthwith advise the Information Commissioner of any third party that the head of the institution has notified under subsection 27(1) in respect of the request or would have notified under that subsection if the head of the institution had intended to disclose the record or part thereof.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 33
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 41(E)

Marginal note:Regulation of procedure

 Subject to this Part, the Information Commissioner may determine the procedure to be followed in the performance of any duty or function of the Commissioner under this Part.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 34
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 39

Marginal note:Investigations in private

  •  (1) Every investigation of a complaint under this Part by the Information Commissioner shall be conducted in private.

  • Marginal note:Right to make representations

    (2) In the course of an investigation of a complaint under this Part by the Information Commissioner, a reasonable opportunity to make representations shall be given to

    • (a) the person who made the complaint,

    • (b) the head of the government institution concerned,

    • (c) a third party if

      • (i) the Information Commissioner intends to recommend the disclosure under subsection 37(1) of all or part of a record that contains — or that the Information Commissioner has reason to believe might contain — trade secrets of the third party, information described in paragraph 20(1)(b) or (b.1) that was supplied by the third party or information the disclosure of which the Information Commissioner can reasonably foresee might effect a result described in paragraph 20(1)(c) or (d) in respect of the third party, and

      • (ii) the third party can reasonably be located, and

    • (d) the Privacy Commissioner, if the Information Commissioner consults him or her under subsection 36(1.1) or section 36.2.

    However no one is entitled as of right to be present during, to have access to or to comment on representations made to the Information Commissioner by any other person.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 35
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 152(F)
  • 2007, c. 15, ss. 10, 12(F)
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 14
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 41(E)

Marginal note:Powers of Information Commissioner in carrying out investigations

  •  (1) The Information Commissioner has, in relation to the carrying out of the investigation of any complaint under this Part, power

    • (a) to summon and enforce the appearance of persons before the Information Commissioner and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce such documents and things as the Commissioner deems requisite to the full investigation and consideration of the complaint, in the same manner and to the same extent as a superior court of record;

    • (b) to administer oaths;

    • (c) to receive and accept such evidence and other information, whether on oath or by affidavit or otherwise, as the Information Commissioner sees fit, whether or not the evidence or information is or would be admissible in a court of law;

    • (d) to enter any premises occupied by any government institution on satisfying any security requirements of the institution relating to the premises;

    • (e) to converse in private with any person in any premises entered pursuant to paragraph (d) and otherwise carry out therein such inquiries within the authority of the Information Commissioner under this Part as the Commissioner sees fit; and

    • (f) to examine or obtain copies of or extracts from books or other records found in any premises entered pursuant to paragraph (d) containing any matter relevant to the investigation.

  • Marginal note:For greater certainty

    (1.1) For greater certainty, the Information Commissioner may, during the investigation of any complaint under this Part, consult the Privacy Commissioner and may, in the course of the consultation, disclose to him or her personal information.

  • Marginal note:Access to records

    (2) Despite any other Act of Parliament, any privilege under the law of evidence, solicitor-client privilege or the professional secrecy of advocates and notaries and litigation privilege, and subject to subsection (2.1), the Information Commissioner may, during the investigation of any complaint under this Part, examine any record to which this Part applies that is under the control of a government institution, and no such record may be withheld from the Commissioner on any grounds.

  • Marginal note:Protected information — solicitors, advocates and notaries

    (2.1) The Information Commissioner may examine a record that contains information that is subject to solicitor-client privilege or the professional secrecy of advocates and notaries or to litigation privilege only if the head of a government institution refuses to disclose the record under section 23.

  • Marginal note:For greater certainty

    (2.2) For greater certainty, the disclosure by the head of a government institution to the Information Commissioner of a record that contains information that is subject to solicitor-client privilege or the professional secrecy of advocates and notaries or to litigation privilege does not constitute a waiver of those privileges or that professional secrecy.

  • Marginal note:Evidence in other proceedings

    (3) Except in a prosecution of a person for an offence under section 131 of the Criminal Code (perjury) in respect of a statement made under this Part, in a prosecution for an offence under section 67, in a review before the Court under this Part or in an appeal from such proceedings, evidence given by a person in proceedings under this Part and evidence of the existence of the proceedings is inadmissible against that person in a court or in any other proceedings.

  • Marginal note:Witness fees

    (4) Any person summoned to appear before the Information Commissioner pursuant to this section is entitled in the discretion of the Commissioner to receive the like fees and allowances for so doing as if summoned to attend before the Federal Court.

  • Marginal note:Return of documents, etc.

    (5) Any document or thing produced pursuant to this section by any person or government institution shall be returned by the Information Commissioner within ten days after a request is made to the Commissioner by that person or government institution, but nothing in this subsection precludes the Commissioner from again requiring its production in accordance with this section.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 36
  • R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 187
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 153
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 15
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 39
 
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