As in the first complaint discussed above, my investigation revealed that the disputed documents
had been obtained during the course of the OPC’s own investigations. I therefore found that
the OPC had appropriately applied section 22.1(1) in refusing to disclose these documents.
As for the time extension and response time, my investigation revealed that the request yielded
8,850 responsive pages. The OPC’s access and privacy division is comprised of one director and
two senior analysts. During fiscal year 2013/2014, this division received 130 access requests,
25 access consultations, 32 privacy requests and seven privacy consultations. The OPC took
the position that meeting the 30-day time limit would have interfered unreasonably with its
operations, including because it would have, it argued, prevented it from meeting its legislative
obligations regrading other requests that it was handling at the relevant time.
There is no doubt that it would be at best challenging for one (or even both) of the senior analysts
to review 8,850 pages of records, and decide which portions could be disclosed and which could
not, within 30 days. Further, the OPC’s access and privacy division will have, in the ordinary
course, other requests that must be processed at the same time. The division also will, again
in the ordinary course, have other ongoing tasks at that same time. Trying to respond to the
complainant where such a large volume of records was involved would, it can be concluded, have
an adverse impact on the division’s ability to do its other work. To try to ‘drop everything’ to
respond within 30 days would have adversely affected the rights of other individuals.
In the end, I concluded that responding to the request within 30 days would have unreasonably
interfered with the OPC’s operations and therefore that the OPC was authorized under section
15 to extend the time for response by 30 days.
As for the complaint into the lateness of the response, taking the 30-day extension into
consideration, the OPC was required to provide a response within 60 calendar days. The time it
takes for the response to reach a requester by mail or any other means of delivery is not included
in the allotted time. In this instance, the OPC used Canada Post Expedited Parcel to send its
response to the complainant. The service timelines may vary depending on destination and other
factors, and the amount of time a letter or parcel takes to reach its destination is beyond the
control of the sender. Ultimately, I concluded that this aspect of the complaint was also not well
David Loukidelis, Q.C.