THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
Pages of Special Interest;
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Information and Privacy Commission/Ont. (IPC)
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Table of sections:
NOTICE OF INQUIRY - Appeal M-9500118
GENERAL COMMENTS - About the IPC and its Orders
ORDER M-716 - My Comments about this Order
ORDER M-716 - Background
The following comments are made under the full protection of all the Rights and Freedoms to free speech that Canadians have, by way of the Charter and all other supporting Acts, common law, etc., to express political opinions, political observations (& of human nature in general) and comment on their government, at all levels and in whatever form they take, during an election or otherwise. This should also be considered a victims statement. The following facts are further reasons why the writer should be entitled to freedom of expression without persecution; I am a poor writer who can't afford a secretary or proof-reader (especially with no hope of a lawyer to proof-read), who is under a heavy workload to try and keep up with paid bureaucrats and who has out performed City staff for the benefit of the Cawthra Bush & community in general in the past, that the only way to overcome the common government tactic of trying to burn out people, groups and their volunteers who oppose government (plans & actions) is to do the best I can, as fast as I can and as honestly as I can. And if that is not good enough for you, then fund the cost to do this work to whatever standard you can afford!
Order # M-716 - General Comments (there are a lot more to come);
The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), agreed with me that this method was an important discovery and they even bent their rules to make a submission that ARIS should be allowed as a method of access.
"The City indicates that it has spent approximately 3 hours producing this one page document."
The Canadian Environmental Law Association, was very polite and diplomatic about when it said, "We submit that this claim, on the part of the City, lacks credibility." I use stronger words.
The City's FOI Co-ordinator, Joan LeFeuvre, would not allow me access to any A-R-I-S documents or answer questions about the City's file management system, thereby denying me the necessary information to present the exact details to the IPC of how the City's computerized filing system. Then by shear chance the very thing Joan LeFeuvre was doing all she could do to keep from me, was delivered to me. A couple pages of the ARIS records and proof of the City's misinformation, deceptions and L***. It appeared I had a winning case but in Canada, the law is written to allow for great abuse, if need be and of course favor the government.
The IPC (seeing I had a winning case), decided to change the Inquiry without notice, after submissions had been made! Rendering CELA's and my submissions useless, brushed aside without proper consideration.
A key element in this cases is the Mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion. She likely had intimidated the IPC by just turn off the FOI process in Mississauga. Did the IPC give her what she wanted to stop the spread of this method? Also the IPC could no doubt see the danger in my efforts, governments generally like to operate in secret.
A request was made for a "test for a hostile institution" given the conduct of the City of Mississauga. This didn't happen as governments always likes to operate under a double standard. Government is staffed by honourable persons who would never knowingly harm citizens or their efforts but the public is full of frivolous and vexatious persons out to harm government.
A lawyer reviewed the IPC Order and agrees it is out of order, the decision is not governing on the issue. A court appeal would involve more money then the FCB could ever hope to have. I believe the IPC knew this and knowingly and deliberately made a wrong decisions knowing it would stand. This set the stage for what was to follow.
A request for reconsideration and amending order M-716 was made to the IPC Aug. 31/96 after many efforts seeking full disclosure and clarifications. Feb. 28/97, Donald Hale, Inquiry officer denied my request.
Does the Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC), have a hidden agenda regarding the releasing of government computer records? Is that the reason why I was stone walled by bureaucrats and their frivolous & vexatious reasons. Would access to City computer files be what the government and the IPC want to make sure does not happen and be the reason why I got abused by the City and IPC, so badly?
City of Mississauga
The requester has submitted a number of requests under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) to the City of Mississauga (the City) for access to records relating to the Cawthra Woodlot.
All of these request letters follow a similar format. In the opening paragraph the requester introduces himself, emphasizes the importance of confidentiality, identifies his preferred method of access, and clarifies that he is primarily interested in working files with handwritten side notes included. This first paragraph closes with the following sentence: "Please include where the file/record (its location in ARIS or IRIS), is held & by who or who looks after the record." These acronyms stand for Active Records Indexing System and Inactive Records Indexing System, the computerized records management systems used by the City for all of its record holdings.
The opening paragraph is followed by an outline of the specific information the requester is seeking.
The letter then goes on to stress the importance of processing the request quickly, identifies the reasons for requesting a fee waiver, and closes by explaining how the requester can be contacted, with particular instructions as to how his phone answering machine should be used.
For the most part, the requests deal with various subject matters relating to the Cawthra Woodlot. However, one request, which was submitted in the same general format, sought access to the ARIS systems records held by the City. The City interpreted this request to be for access to the indexing system itself, and responded by denying access to the system on the basis that it had met its statutory obligations under section 25(l)(b) of the Act by providing a list of the general classes or types of records in the custody or control of the City, which were available for inspection and copying by the requester. The requester did not appeal this decision.
NATURE OF THE APPEAL:
The specific information outlined in the request letter which gave rise to the present appeal was:
A new request: #4. (Jan. 12/95)
1). Access (View and copy as needed) to the larger files/records listed as your file #EC.10
The City responded by identifying all responsive records and advising the requester to call to make arrangements for viewing. The requester subsequently attended at the City offices where he was allowed to view all of the records. The requester asked for copies of a number of records, which were provided by the City.
A similar process was followed in response to his other requests.
The requester appealed the City's decision on the basis that the City had failed to include reference as to where the responsive records were located on the ARIS or IRIS system.
The parties both agreed to proceed with this appeal and to hold other similar appeals in abeyance until this order was issued.
Mediation efforts in the present appeal were not successful, and a Notice of Inquiry was sent to the City and the appellant. Representations were received from both parties.
In my view, this appeal turns on the issue of whether or not the City has adequately responded to the appellant's request.
The City's obligations in responding to a request are set out in section 19 of the Act, the relevant parts of which read as follows:
Where a person requests access to a record, the head of the institution to which the request
(b) if access is to be given, give the person who made
Twelve days after receiving the appellant's request, the City advised him in writing that access was granted to all responsive records. The City provided the appellant with the name and telephone number of the person who could be contacted to arrange for viewing the records, identified the costs of providing any required photocopies, and advised that photocopying charges would not be waived. The City's letter also advised the appellant of his right to request a review of the decision. Because full access was provided, I assume the City intended this review notice to relate to its decision not to waive the fee.
According to the City, the appellant subsequently viewed the records and was provided with any requested copies, for which he paid the required fees.
The representations provided by the City make the following comments:
The appellant has made a volume of requests under the Municipal Freedom of
Having reviewed all relevant documentation and representations provided by the City and the appellant, in my view, the City has properly discharged its responsibilities under section 19 of the Act. The appellant's request was answered promptly, and he was provided with full access to all records which responded to the subject matter of the request. The parts of the City's records management indexing system which were used to retrieve responsive records and the City employees who are responsible for managing these particular record holdings do not appear on the face of these records and, in my view, the City is not required to create new records which would link these records management codes to the records accessed by the appellant in order to comply with section 19 of the Act.
In my view, the information contained in the opening paragraph of this and other similar request letters submitted by the appellant relates to the form in which the appellant would like to receive the records and falls outside the scope of the substantive access request. The request itself is listed in the letter as follows:
A new request: #4. (Jan. 12/95)
1). Access (View and copy as needed) to the larger files/records listed as your file
I find that the City has responded to this request in complete accordance with the statutory requirements.
This appeal is dismissed.
Tom Mitchinson, Assistant Commissioner - February 22, 1996
[ COMMENTS BY DON B. - ]
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