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2014-2015 - Annual Report to Parliament - Access to Information Act

Complaints, Audits, Investigations and Appeals

Applicants have the right to register a complaint with the Information Commissioner of Canada regarding any matter relating to the processing of a request.

As noted in Table 1, during the 2014–2015 reporting period, 24 complaints were filed with the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada against Environment Canada. Environment Canada provided representations to the Office of the Information Commissioner in 19 complaints and received a report of findings or recommendations in 10 of these complaints.

Table 1
Complaints received in 2014-2015
Section 32
New complaints received
Section 35
Representations provided to the Office of the Information Commissioner
Section 37
Findings or recommendations received

Ten (10) complaints received in 2014-2015, as well as 13 complaints from previous reporting periods were completed in 2014–2015, for a total of 23 complaints closed. Fourteen (14) complaints received in this reporting period and 29 complaints from previous years remain outstanding.

Table 2 provides a breakdown of the reasons for and results of the complaints that were completed in 2014–2015.

Table 2 Results of Investigations
Reason for ComplaintNumber of DecisionsWell founded, resolved without recommendationsWell founded, with recommendations – resolvedWell founded, with recommendations – not resolvedNot well foundedDiscontinuedSettled
Exemptions/ Exclusions7100114
Refusal – s.690000000
Refusal – General3100110


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.

The department reviews the outcomes of all of the Office of the Information Commissioner investigations and where appropriate, incorporates lessons learned into business processes. There were no recommendations raised by other Agents of Parliament during the reporting period.


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.

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