Annual Report to Parliament 2013-14 - page 61

In the third, related complaint from the same individual,
the requester’s main allegation was that the OPC had
not met its obligations under the Privacy Act because
it had not searched for emails and attachments in so-
called backup tapes. Backup systems are designed for
data protection (for example against inadvertent data
deletion, fire, system crashes, etc.). They do not provide an
archiving system, equipped with a fast search and retrieval
capacity. Our investigation concluded that the search for
information on backup tapes under any circumstance is
difficult. In this particular instance, the general difficulty
was exacerbated because the requester did not provide
“sufficiently specific information on the location of the
information to make it reasonably retrievable” by the
OPC. Therefore, this complaint, too, was found to be
The main issue in each of the last two complaints
concerned the proper application of section 22.1 of
Privacy Act
, which concerns provides a mandatory
exemption in some circumstances for information
obtained or created by the OPC during an investigation.
Much of the work on these investigations was done,
although not completed, in 2013-2014. The final
conclusions will be reported in the next annual report.
In addition to these three complaints, this Office also
received a complaint from an individual who was
dissatisfied with how the OPC had investigated his
complaint about how another government department had
dealt with his personal information. This Office does not
have jurisdiction to investigate such cases. Our mandate
is limited to receiving and investigating complaints that
personal information under the control of the OPC itself
may have been improperly handled.
The existence of an independent Privacy Commissioner,
Ad Hoc
ensures the integrity of the complaints process,
itself an essential element in any access to information
regime. We remain ready to investigate any future
complaints regarding the OPC thoroughly and
It is a privilege to serve as Privacy Commissioner,
Ad Hoc.
Respectfully submitted,
John H, Sims, Q.C.
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