An inquiry is the final stage of a review or a complaint. Inquiries are formal adjudicative proceedings in which the Commissioner, or a delegated Adjudicator, receives submissions from all parties involved in the matter and decides all issues of fact and law.
The inquiry process is not an evaluation or review of the investigation/mediation process or of the findings of the Senior Information and Privacy Manager. Inquiries can take place in written or oral form, at the discretion of the Commissioner or Adjudicator, but most are written.
An inquiry concludes with an order. An order made by the Commissioner or a delegated Adjudicator is final, and may be reviewed only if one of the parties apply for a judicial review at the Court of King's Bench of Alberta.
Orders issued by the Commissioner or a delegated Adjudicator are publicly released. Copies of orders are available on this website.
The names of individual applicants and complainants are generally not disclosed in orders. However, public bodies, custodians or organizations are named in orders.
What is involved in the inquiry process?
The inquiry process is administered by the OIPC's Adjudication Unit.
Upon receipt of a completed request for inquiry form, the Adjudication Unit reviews the request for inquiry to ensure that it contains enough information for the Commissioner to be able to decide whether to proceed with an inquiry.
Should the Commissioner decide to proceed with an inquiry, the Adjudication Unit will inform the parties. Parties will then be provided with a Notice of Inquiry, which confirms the issues for the inquiry and the schedule for receipt of submissions.
Please note that the parties are responsible for exchanging submissions amongst themselves, using the addresses for service that have already been distributed among the parties as well as the address for service of any named/disclosed affected party. While names of private individuals are not identified in orders, the identities of the parties involved are usually disclosed to each other during the inquiry process.
The Notice of Inquiry may attach copies of the following documents:
- Access request or privacy complaint
- Public body’s, custodian’s or organization’s response (if applicable)
- Request for review form, privacy complaint form or third party request for review form and all attachments
- Request for inquiry form and all attachments
For procedural fairness, our general practice is to ensure that all parties have copies of these documents for the purposes of the inquiry. This practice may be varied in appropriate circumstances.
Should the Commissioner refuse to hear an inquiry, the parties will be informed of that decision.
Inquiries are most commonly held in written form. Occasionally inquiries are held orally. In that case, the Commissioner or Adjudicator hears oral arguments, as well as reviewing written submissions.
Upon receipt of all related submissions, the Commissioner or Adjudicator reviews the submissions and issues a decision in the form of an order (described above).
Upon receipt of an order, parties have 45 days to apply for judicial review, should they disagree with the decision. If there is no application for judicial review, a public body, custodian or organization is required to comply with the order within 50 days from the day it receives a copy of the order.