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

Act current to 2017-12-11 and last amended on 2017-11-30. Previous Versions

Marginal note:Regulation of procedure

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

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “34”.
Marginal note:Investigations in private
  •  (1) Every investigation of a complaint under this Act 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 Act 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, and

    • (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.

    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).
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 Act, 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 Act 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:Access to records

    (2) Notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament or any privilege under the law of evidence, the Information Commissioner may, during the investigation of any complaint under this Act, examine any record to which this Act 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: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 Act, in a prosecution for an offence under section 67, in a review before the Court under this Act or in an appeal from such proceedings, evidence given by a person in proceedings under this Act 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.
Marginal note:Findings and recommendations of Information Commissioner
  •  (1) If, on investigating a complaint in respect of a record under this Act, the Information Commissioner finds that the complaint is well-founded, the Commissioner shall provide the head of the government institution that has control of the record with a report containing

    • (a) the findings of the investigation and any recommendations that the Commissioner considers appropriate; and

    • (b) where appropriate, a request that, within a time specified in the report, notice be given to the Commissioner of any action taken or proposed to be taken to implement the recommendations contained in the report or reasons why no such action has been or is proposed to be taken.

  • Marginal note:Report to complainant and third parties

    (2) The Information Commissioner shall, after investigating a complaint under this Act, report to the complainant and any third party that was entitled under subsection 35(2) to make and that made representations to the Commissioner in respect of the complaint the results of the investigation, but where a notice has been requested under paragraph (1)(b) no report shall be made under this subsection until the expiration of the time within which the notice is to be given to the Commissioner.

  • Marginal note:Matter to be included in report to complainant

    (3) Where a notice has been requested under paragraph (1)(b) but no such notice is received by the Commissioner within the time specified therefor or the action described in the notice is, in the opinion of the Commissioner, inadequate or inappropriate or will not be taken in a reasonable time, the Commissioner shall so advise the complainant in his report under subsection (2) and may include in the report such comments on the matter as he thinks fit.

  • Marginal note:Access to be given

    (4) Where, pursuant to a request under paragraph (1)(b), the head of a government institution gives notice to the Information Commissioner that access to a record or a part thereof will be given to a complainant, the head of the institution shall give the complainant access to the record or part thereof

    • (a) forthwith on giving the notice if no notice is given to a third party under paragraph 29(1)(b) in the matter; or

    • (b) forthwith on completion of twenty days after notice is given to a third party under paragraph 29(1)(b), if that notice is given, unless a review of the matter is requested under section 44.

  • Marginal note:Right of review

    (5) Where, following the investigation of a complaint relating to a refusal to give access to a record requested under this Act or a part thereof, the head of a government institution does not give notice to the Information Commissioner that access to the record will be given, the Information Commissioner shall inform the complainant that the complainant has the right to apply to the Court for a review of the matter investigated.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “37”.

Reports to Parliament

Marginal note:Annual report

 The Information Commissioner shall, within three months after the termination of each financial year, submit an annual report to Parliament on the activities of the office during that financial year.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “38”.
Marginal note:Special reports
  •  (1) The Information Commissioner may, at any time, make a special report to Parliament referring to and commenting on any matter within the scope of the powers, duties and functions of the Commissioner where, in the opinion of the Commissioner, the matter is of such urgency or importance that a report thereon should not be deferred until the time provided for transmission of the next annual report of the Commissioner under section 38.

  • Marginal note:Where investigation made

    (2) Any report made pursuant to subsection (1) that relates to an investigation under this Act shall be made only after the procedures set out in section 37 have been followed in respect of the investigation.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “39”.
Marginal note:Transmission of reports
  •  (1) Every report to Parliament made by the Information Commissioner under section 38 or 39 shall be made by being transmitted to the Speaker of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Commons for tabling in those Houses.

  • Marginal note:Reference to Parliamentary committee

    (2) Every report referred to in subsection (1) shall, after it is transmitted for tabling pursuant to that subsection, be referred to the committee designated or established by Parliament for the purpose of subsection 75(1).

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “40”.
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