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Annual Report on the Access to Information Act for the period ending March 31, 2013

4.   Complaints and Judicial Review

Individuals who are not satisfied with the processing of their access to information request can file a complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC).

The OIC received 10 complaints against Elections Canada in 2012–2013. At the beginning of the reporting period, the OIC also had one outstanding complaint to consider.

One complaint filed against Elections Canada in 2012–2013 was settled in the course of investigation.

The OIC determined that four complaints were not well founded. In most instances, these took issue with the application of subsection 19(1) of the Access to Information Act, which exempts personal information from disclosure. The OIC ruled one other complaint to be well founded, on the grounds that a given name had been redacted despite there being no associated surname.

In 2011–2012, the OIC ruled that an earlier complaint regarding subsection 19(1) was not well founded. The finding was then appealed to the Federal Court of Canada for judicial review. The complainant continued to assert that his own personal information had been withheld, rather than that of another individual. In 2012–2013, the Federal Court upheld the OIC decision in favour of Elections Canada.

The OIC has not yet issued a finding on the complaint outstanding from 2011–2012. At issue is whether Elections Canada should provide its political contributions and expenses database in an alternative format to the version published online. Originally, this request was excluded under paragraph 68(a).

Four complaints related to Elections Canada's application of sections 16.3 and 23 of the Act were made to the OIC in 2012–2013. The investigation of these complaints has not concluded.