The Information and Privacy Commissioner has opened an investigation into Alberta Justice and Solicitor General (AJSG) for chronic delays in responding to access requests under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP Act).
Since February 2016, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has issued eight orders finding that AJSG failed to meet the time limit for responding to an access request. There are numerous files before the office that raise similar concerns.
The FOIP Act requires a public body to respond to a request within the 30-day period or any extended period as provided by the legislation. The failure of a public body to respond to a request within the time limits is treated as a decision to refuse access to the record (section 11).
The objective of the investigation is to review AJSG’s processing of access requests to identify reasons for the chronic delays that are currently being experienced, and to make recommendations as necessary to improve AJSG’s compliance with the FOIP Act.
“As I have said before, access delayed is access denied,” said Commissioner Jill Clayton. “This apparent systemic issue of not responding to access requests within time limits by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General is a significant compliance issue. Access to information is a cornerstone of democracy, and my role is to oversee that the access rights of Albertans are being upheld.”