Complaint Process

Access to Information

Under the access provisions, individuals or organizations (called applicants), who wish to obtain access to records in the control or custody of a public body may do so by completing the appropriate form and forwarding it to the public body having custody or control of the information being sought. This application form is available from any public body or from the provincial Office of Public Engagement and ATIPP Office website. This site also contains other pertinent information including a list of all public bodies and the name and contact information of their respective access and privacy coordinators, who can field inquiries and receive access to information requests.

If you have submitted a request to a public body for access to a record and you are not satisfied with the response, you may ask the Commissioner to investigate the matter. Complaints to the Commissioner typically involve situations where some or all of the request has been denied based on one or more of the exceptions in the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA, 2015). A complainant may ask the Commissioner to investigate this denial of access to ensure that it was appropriate, and if not, to recommend that additional information be disclosed to the applicant. The failure of a public body to respond within the time frames specified in the ATIPPA, 2015 is another example of how an applicant may be dissatisfied, and again, such an individual may file a complaint with the Commissioner.

In addition, an applicant may ask the Commissioner to investigate a fee charged under the ATIPPA, 2015, failure of a public body to fulfill its duty to assist an applicant, or any other circumstance where you feel your access to information rights have been violated.

If you are a third party (a person or organization other than the applicant or the public body) and you have been notified by a public body that they intend to release information that may be harmful to your business interests, you may ask the Commissioner to investigate the public body's decision.

If you wish to make a complaint to the Commissioner you may do so by writing a letter to this Office or by completing our Access Complaint or Application Related to Cost Form PDF document opens in new window PDF document (139 KB). Please attach all relevant documentation including a copy of your original Application for Access and a copy of the public body's response. Complaints may be mailed, dropped off, or sent by fax or email. Those sent by e-mail must contain a scanned copy of a signed and dated complaint form otherwise they will not be accepted. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process please contact our Office and we will assist you. There is no cost to file a complaint with this Office.

On completion of our investigation, we will provide you and the public body with a report on our findings. A public body must determine whether it will comply with any recommendations in the report within 10 business days. Where the report makes recommendations to the public body that it does not agree with, it must seek a declaration from the Supreme Court Trial Division stating that it is not required by law to comply. Failure to do so can lead to this Office filing its recommendations as an order of the court.

If you are not satisfied with the decision of the public body, you may appeal the decision to the Supreme Court Trial Division within 10 business days of the public body's decision after receipt of the Commissioner's report. Initiating an appeal to court begins a new hearing that reviews the decision of the public body. It is not an appeal of the report of the Commissioner.

Protection of Privacy

On January 16, 2008 the protection of privacy provisions (Part IV) of the ATIPPA, 2015 were proclaimed into force. These provisions limit the extent and means by which public bodies can collect personal information, as well as the extent to which public bodies can use and disclose that information. Part IV requires public bodies to make every reasonable effort to ensure that personal information is accurate and complete, to make reasonable security arrangements against unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure or disposal of personal information, and to retain certain personal information about an individual in order to allow that individual a reasonable opportunity to obtain access to the information. "Personal information" is defined in the ATIPPA, 2015 as "recorded information about an identifiable individual." It includes, but is not limited to:

If you believe that your personal information, in the custody or under the control of a public body, has been improperly collected, used or disclosed, is not correct, accurate or complete, has not been adequately protected, or has not been retained for the minimum period, you may file a complaint with this Office by completing our Privacy Complaint Form PDF document opens in new window PDF document (134 KB).

Complaints may be mailed, dropped off, or sent by fax or email. Those sent by e-mail must contain a scanned copy of a signed and dated complaint form otherwise they will not be accepted. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process please contact our Office and we will assist you. There is no cost to file a complaint with this Office.

On completion of our investigation, we will provide you and the public body with a report on our findings. A public body must determine whether it will comply with any recommendations in the report within 10 business days. Where the report makes recommendations to the public body that it does not agree with, it must seek a declaration from the Supreme Court Trial Division stating that it is not required by law to comply. Failure to do so can lead to this Office filing its recommendations as an Order of the Court.

If you are not satisfied with the decision of the public body, you may appeal the decision to the Supreme Court Trial Division within 10 business days of the public body's decision after receipt of the Commissioner's report. Initiating an appeal to Court begins a new hearing that reviews the decision of the public body, it is not an appeal of the report of the Commissioner.