Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
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Information and Privacy Commission/Ont. (IPC)
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Table of sections:
GENERAL COMMENTS - About the IPC and its Orders
ORDER M-870 - Nature of the Appeal
- Has the City net its obligations to the Appellant under
The following comments are made under the full protection of all the Rights and Freedoms to free speech that Canadians have, by way of the Charter and all other supporting Acts, common law, etc., to express political opinions, political observations (& of human nature in general) and comment on their government, at all levels and in whatever form they take, during an election or otherwise. This should also be considered a victims statement. The following facts are further reasons why the writer should be entitled to freedom of expression without persecution; I am a poor writer who can't afford a secretary or proof-reader (especially with no hope of a lawyer to proof-read), who is under a heavy workload to try and keep up with paid bureaucrats and who has out performed City staff for the benefit of the Cawthra Bush & community in general in the past, that the only way to overcome the common government tactic of trying to burn out people, groups and their volunteers who oppose government (plans & actions) is to do the best I can, as fast as I can and as honestly as I can. And if that is not good enough for you, then fund the cost to do this work to whatever standard you can afford!
Order # M-870 - General Comments (there are a lot more to come);
The IPC used a number of bureaucratic methods to confuse the issues and make it very hard to address. The IPC mixed up the appeal numbers resulting the Notice of Inquiry being inaccurate. The IPC followed the City's lead in calling one request the same as another, even though the wording was not and that I was requesting something they could deny. The IPC then didn't listen to anything I said about what existing records would respond to my request and said the City should write a decision letter about accessing a one page document the City created for this Inquiry. The City did and said I could not have it, as their lawyer was involved in it, I get nothing, end of story.
The IPC said I didn't want what I
requested, after all how would the requester, an untrained member of the
public, even know what he wanted?
The one single fact that bugs me
the most and show how totally hypocritical of the IPC is. The fact
is, the IPC was telling the City to give me a record that the IPC had and
in their power to forward to me!
City of Mississauga
NATURE OF THE APPEAL
The City of Mississauga (the City) received a total of eight requests under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) from one individual. Seven of the requests sought access to specific records, as well as their location and the individual responsible for them. The eighth request was for access to records which pertain to the City's Active and Inactive Indexing Record System (ARIS/IRIS) with respect to a specified property and a management program, as well as the manuals used by City staff for training on the system.
The City denied access to the requested records, claiming that section 25 of the Act only required that it maintain a list of general classes or types of records and to make that limited list available to the public. It referred the appellant to its Classes of Records Directory and advised him of its availability and cost. The requester, now the appellant, appealed the City's decision.
During the mediation of the appeal, it was agreed by the parties that the only issue to be addressed would be the appellant's right of access to records which may include the location within the ARIS/IRIS indexing system of files containing documents relating to the specified property and the management program. It was also agreed that the appeals regarding the denial of access in the other seven requests would be held in abeyance pending this decision.
A Notice of Inquiry was sent by this office to the appellant and the City. Representations were received from both parties.
HAS THE CITY MET ITS OBLIGATIONS TO THE APPELLANT UNDER SECTIONS 4 AND 19 OF THE ACT?
Because the requests which form the subject of this appeal were submitted to the City prior to the amendments to the Act which were contained in the Savings and Restructuring Act (Bill 26), I must determine whether the City met its obligations to the appellant under sections 4 and 19 of the Act as they existed at the time of the requests. Section 4(1) of the Act stated
Every person has a right
of access to a record or a part of a record in the custody or under the
Upon receipt of a request made under section 4, an institution is required, under section 19, to give written notice to the person who made the request as to whether or not access to the record or part of it will be given.
In this case, the appellant made requests under section 4 of the Act for access to certain specified records. It was then the City's responsibility, in my view, to conduct a search of its record holdings to determine if a record or records responsive to the requests existed. The City is then obligated, under section 19, to give written notice to the appellant as to whether or not access to the identified records will be granted.
Upon receipt of the appellant's request, the City advised him that access to the responsive records was denied because it is not obliged to provide him access to its records management systems. The City's decision letter to the appellant did not, however, make reference to any specific exemption under sections 6 to 15 upon which it was relying to deny access. Rather, the City took the position that because it makes available to the public a Classes of Records Directory, it has met its obligations under section 25 of the Act, and, therefore, under sections 4 and 19.
In my view, this determination does not, however, address the question of access to the records sought in the specific request which is currently before me. The Classes of Records Directory is not the record sought by the appellant. In my view, the City has not in this case provided the appellant with a decision letter which is in accordance with its obligations under section 19.
In its representations, the City included a copy of its generic listing of all of the files which are indexed on its ARIS/IRIS system. These files are indexed by both a primary (alpha) and a secondary (numeric) designation. It explains that each City Department classifies its files in the same manner so that any records relating to a particular subject, from any source within the City government, are indexed in the system by subject rather than by Department. The City advises that this system was created to rationalize the City's record-keeping system and to facilitate the easy retrieval of records requested by the public under the Act.
On Page 40 of his submissions, the appellant states that he is "not interested in the entire ARIS/IRIS system index only that which addresses my repeated request to a general access to [the files containing records relating to the specific subjects described above]". Accordingly, I find that the complete ARIS/IRIS system index is not responsive to the appellant's request.
In its submissions, the City also provided a one-page listing dated September 29, 1995 of all of its ARIS/IRIS file holdings (but not their contents) which relate solely to the subject matter of the appellant's request. In my view, this document is the record which is responsive to the appellant's request, as opposed to the Classes of Records Directory which was identified by the City in its decision letter or the complete ARIS/IRIS system index.
The decision letter provided to the appellant in this request does not address the question of access to the one-page record dated September 29, 1995, which I have identified as responsive to the request. I will, therefore, order the City to provide the appellant with a decision regarding access to this document.
It should be noted that the appellant has filed a large number of requests with the City which have resulted in many appeals being taken to this office. Based on my review of just some of these requests, I find them to be confusing and, at times, contradictory. For this reason, I can appreciate that the City has often had a difficult time addressing the requests to the satisfaction of the appellant. In my view, this could have been a factor which caused the City to misconstrue the appellant's request.
1. I order the City to provide the appellant
with a decision letter on the issue of access to the
2. I order the City to provide me with a copy of the
decision letter referred to in Provision 1 by
Original signed by Donald Hale, Inquiry Officer December 5, 1996
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