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2013-2014 - Annual Report to Parliament - Access to Information Act

Complaints, Investigations and Federal Court Cases

During the 2013–2014 reporting period, 30 complaints were filed with the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada against Environment Canada. Seven (7) of these complaints as well as 5 complaints from previous reporting periods were completed in 2013–2014. Twenty-three (23) complaints received in this reporting period and 19 complaints from previous years remain outstanding.

The following table provides a breakdown of the reasons for and results of the complaints that were completed in 2013–2014.

Results of Investigations
Reason for ComplaintNumber of DecisionsWell founded, resolved without recommendationsWell founded, with recommendations – resolvedWell founded, with recommendations – not resolvedNot well foundedDiscontinuedSettled
Delay3200001
Exemptions/
Exclusions
4200002
Extensions2000200
Fees0000000
Miscellaneous0000000
Refusal – s.692100010
Refusal – General1000100
Total12500313

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Explanation of the Results of Investigations

  • Well founded – The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) found evidence of the complainant’s rights being denied under the Access to Information Act. It was necessary for the OIC to report the finding of the investigation and provide recommendations where appropriate.
    • Well founded, resolved without recommendations– The institution took remedial action to the satisfaction of the OIC during the course of the investigation. The OIC did not need to provide a recommendation to the head of the institution.
    • Well founded, with recommendations – resolved – If the head of the institution accepted the OIC recommendations and remedial action was taken by the institution to the satisfaction of the OIC, the matter is considered resolved and no further action by the OIC is necessary.
    • Well founded, with recommendations – not resolved – If the head of the institution did not accept the recommendations of the OIC, or if the remedial action was not to the satisfaction of the OIC, the complainant will be informed that the matter is not resolved and the complainant, or the OIC with the complainant’s consent, can pursue the matter in court, where the matter relates to a refusal.
  • Not well founded – As a result of the investigation, the OIC found that the institution applied the Access to Information Act correctly.
  • Discontinued – The complaint was withdrawn or abandoned by the complainant before allegations were fully investigated.
  • Settled – In the case of a minor error, the complaint was settled to the satisfaction of the OIC without the need for the OIC to make a finding

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Applications/Appeals to the Federal Court or Federal Court of Appeal

T-828-12 Sheldon Blank v. Minister of the Environment – The application filed pursuant to section 41 of the Access to Information Act in March 2012 was still before the Federal Court of Canada at the end of the reporting period.

T-1423-12 Patrick Whitty v. Minister of Environment– An application was filed pursuant to section 41 of the Access to Information Act in July 2012. On June 4, 2013, the Federal Court determined that the application did not meet the statutory pre-conditions for bringing an application to Court. On February 3, 2014, the Federal Court of Appeal agreed with the Federal Court’s decision.

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