Access to Information Complaint Checker (“ATI Complaint Checker”)

The Access to Information Complaint Checker will ask you a series of questions about your complaint to help you work out if our Office can investigate your complaint.

The ATI Complaint Checker applies to complaints in relation to the response you received to your Access to Information request.

The ATI Complaint Checker can only give you general advice that will apply in most circumstances. You should not rely upon this information as legal advice.

We have used the following abbreviations in the ATI Complaint Checker:

  • ATIPPA, 2015 - for the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015;
  • Commissioner - for the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • OIPC - for our Office, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner;
  • Regulations - for the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Regulations

What is not covered by the ATI Complaint Checker?

The ATI Complaint Checker does not deal with complaints related to privacy or personal health information. For further information on those matters please contact us.

Further Information

If you are still unsure about whether or not our Office can investigate your complaint, or if you would like to discuss the information provided in the ATI Complaint Checker, please contact us.

Start the ATI Complaint Checker

Question 1

Did you submit an access to information request to a public body?

Public body is defined in the ATIPPA, 2015. The following is a list of public bodies:

  1. a department of the provincial government;
  2. a branch of the executive government of the province;
  3. a Crown corporation;
  4. a corporation, commission or body, the majority of the members of which, or the majority of members of the board of directors of which are appointed by an Act, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council or a minister;
  5. Memorial University;
  6. College of the North Atlantic;
  7. the Newfoundland English School District;
  8. Conseil scolaire francophone provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador;
  9. Central Health Authority;
  10. Eastern Health Authority;
  11. Western Health Authority;
  12. Labrador-Grenfell Health Authority;
  13. Mental Health Review Board;
  14. Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information;
  15. the City of Corner Brook;
  16. the City of Mount Pearl;
  17. the City of St. John’s;
  18. a municipality;
  19. a body designated as a local government body in the Regulations;
  20. the House of Assembly;
  21. statutory offices, as defined in the House of Assembly Accountability, Integrity and Administration Act, including the OIPC, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Commissioner for Legislative Standards, the Child and Youth Advocate, the Citizens' Representative, and the Seniors' Advocate;
  22. a corporation or other entity owned by or created by or for a municipality or a group of municipalities, which has as its primary purpose the management of a municipal asset or the discharge of a municipal responsibility; and
  23. any other body designated as a public body in the

A public body does not include:

  1. the constituency office of a member of the House of Assembly;
  2. the Court of Appeal, the Trial Division, or the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  3. the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project; or
  4. a body listed in Schedule B of the ATIPPA, 2015.

Question 1a

Are you submitting your complaint as a Third Party who was notified by a Public Body of a decision to release information relating to you?

Third Parties are defined in the ATIPPA, 2015 as a person or group of persons other than the requestor or a public body. Where a public body receives an access to information request and it has reason to believe the response contains information that might be excepted from disclosure under section 39 or 40 of the ATIPPA, 2015, the head is required to notify the Third Party in writing accordance with section 19 of the ATIPPA, 2015.

It is likely that the Commissioner is able to investigate your complaint. If you would like to make a complaint please go to our Access Complaint form.

Sorry, it is unlikely that the OIPC can investigate your complaint. The OIPC can only accept complaints from Third Parties when formal notification has been provided to you by a Public Body about a decision to release information in response to an access to information request.

Question 2

Was your request for information recorded in a document, file, video or audio recording, photograph, database, mailing list, book, note, report, website, blog post, email, instant message or some other form?

Requests for information which are made under the ATIPPA, 2015 are limited to information which is captured in a record. Unrecorded information is not subject to the ATIPPA, 2015 and there is no obligation on a public body to create a record in response to an access to information request.

A record is defined in section 2 of the ATIPPA, 2015 as:

a record of information in any form, and includes a dataset, information that is machine readable, written, photographed, recorded or stored in any manner, but does not include a computer program or a mechanism that produced records on any storage medium.

Sorry, it is unlikely that the OIPC can investigate your complaint. Your complaint must involve information that is recorded.

Question 3

Have you received a response to your access to information request?

The OIPC is only able to investigate after you receive a final response to your access to information request or after the expiration of the time limit for responding.

Public bodies are required to provide a final response to a request in writing within 20 business days of receiving a request unless they have obtained a time extension from this Office.

The following days are not included in the calculation of business days:

  1. Saturdays;
  2. Sundays;
  3. New Year’s Day;
  4. Good Friday;
  5. Easter Monday;
  6. Victoria Day;
  7. Canada Day;
  8. Labour Day;
  9. Remembrance Day;
  10. Armistice Day; and
  11. Christmas Day.

A public body may provide its response outside of the 20 business day time period if it obtained approval for an extension from this Office. If this occurs, the public body is required to provide you with the revised response date in writing. Please be mindful that if you chose to mail your request to the public body, there may be a delay between the date on which you submit your request and its receipt by the public body,

Public bodies should respond to requests as soon as possible. Consequently, responses may also be received sooner than 20 business days.

Question 3a

Have 20 business days passed since you submitted your access to information request?

Public bodies are required to provide a final response to a request in writing within 20 business days of receiving a request unless they have obtained a time extension from this Office. You may use our Estimated Response Time Calculator to determine when you can anticipate a response to your access to information request.

The following days are not included in the calculation of business days:

  1. Saturdays;
  2. Sundays;
  3. New Years Day;
  4. Good Friday;
  5. Easter Monday;
  6. Victoria Day;
  7. Canada Day;
  8. Labour Day;
  9. Remembrance Day;
  10. Armistice Day; and
  11. Christmas Day.

A public body may provide its response outside of the 20 business day time period if it obtained approval for an extension from this Office. If this occurs, the public body is required to provide you with the revised response date in writing. Please be mindful that if you chose to mail your request to the public body, there may be a delay between the date on which you submit your request and its receipt by the public body,

Public bodies should respond to requests as soon as possible. Consequently, responses may also be received sooner than 20 business days.

Sorry, it is unlikely that the OIPC can investigate your complaint. You must allow the public body 20 business days to respond to your request before you can make a complaint to the OIPC

Question 3b

Have you been notified by the public body that their time period for responding to your access to information request has been extended?

On application from a public body, the OIPC may grant a public body an extension of time for responding to an access to information request where the commissioner considers that it is necessary and reasonable to do so. Where an extension is granted you will be notified of the reason for the extension, that the OIPC has authorized the extension, and when a response can be expected.

You may not make a complaint regarding the time extension once it has been approved by the OIPC.

Sorry, it is unlikely that the OIPC can investigate your complaint at this time. The OIPC is only able to investigate after you receive a response to your access to information request or after the expiration of the deadline for responding.

Question 3c

Have you been notified by the public body that your access to information request has been disregarded?

On application from a public body, the OIPC may grant a public body approval to disregard an access to information request where the request would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the public body; the request is for information already provided to the applicant; or the request would amount to an abuse of the right to make a request because it is:

  1. trivial, frivolous or vexatious,
  2. unduly repetitive or systematic,
  3. excessively broad or incomprehensible, or
  4. otherwise made in bad faith.

Where your access request has been disregarded with approval from the Commissioner you will be notified that the request is refused, of the reasons for the refusal; that the commissioner has approved the disregard; and of your right to appeal the decision of the public body to the Trial Division under subsection 52 (1).

Sorry, it is unlikely that the OIPC can investigate your complaint. The OIPC is unable to investigate a complaint that is disregarded.

It is likely that the Commissioner is able to investigate your complaint. If you would like to make a complaint please go to our Access Complaint form.

Question 4

Have you already brought your complaint regarding the response to your access to information request to the Supreme Court, Trial Division?

If you would like to discuss whether your on-going complaint resolution process impacts your ability to file a complaint with the Commissioner, please contact us

Sorry, it is unlikely that the OIPC can investigate your complaint. Where an individual files an appeal with the Court in relation to the response of a public body to an access to information request, section 42(7) of the ATIPPA, 2015 prohibits the Commissioner from investigating a complaint.

Additionally, under section 45, the Commissioner may refuse to investigate a complaint where the complaint has been or could be more appropriately dealt with by a procedure or proceeding other than a complaint under the ATIPPA, 2015.

Question 5

Does your complaint relate to information which has been severed (i.e. blacked out or redacted) from the response to your access to information request?

The Commissioner may investigate a complaint in relation to the severing of information in the response to an access to information request. Please note, the ATIPPA, 2015 does permit access to be refused for certain information, including through the severing of information within a record, in accordance with the exceptions to access provisions. In certain instances, public bodies may be required to withhold certain information. Any investigation by the OIPC will seek to determine whether the severing has been carried out in accordance with the ATIPPA, 2015.

It is likely that the Commissioner is able to investigate your complaint. If you would like to make a complaint please go to our Access Complaint form.

Question 5a

Is the basis of your complaint that no records have been provided in response to your access to information request?

The Commissioner may investigate whether a reasonable search for records responsive to your access to information request was conducted. The Commissioner may require you to present evidence establishing a reasonable basis for why you believe records exist which are responsive to your access to information request.

It is likely that the Commissioner is able to investigate your complaint. If you would like to make a complaint please go to our Access Complaint form.

Question 5b

Is the basis of your complaint that more records should have been provided in response to your access to information request?

The Commissioner may investigate whether a reasonable search for records responsive to your access to information request was conducted. The Commissioner may require you to present evidence establishing a reasonable basis for why you believe records exist which are responsive to your access to information request.

It is likely that the Commissioner is able to investigate your complaint. If you would like to make a complaint please go to our Access Complaint form.

Sorry, it is unlikely that the OIPC can investigate your complaint. Investigations by the Commissioner are limited to a decision, act or failure to act of the head of the public body that relates to an access request.