Words of wisdom
Select the text at bottom for your answer.
"Unsupportable refusals to release information and delays in responding to requests for access are particularly frustrating to applicants as well as to this Office. This being said, it is of significant comfort to acknowledge that there is a sustained effort under way by government through the ATIPP Office in the Department of Justice to train public bodies in their obligations under the ATIPPA, especially as it relates to the timeframes for notification and action. The government’s ATIPPA Policy and Procedures Manual is an integral part of the ongoing training program. This Office has and will continue to work with government in this effort.
It is noted here that public bodies often express resentment that they too often receive requests for information that they would call repetitive, trivial or even vexatious. They argue that knowing how much a minister or a CEO spends on hotel bills and meals doesn’t do anything to promote good public policy, or that requesting copies of thousands of e-mails leading up to a dismissal of an employee does nothing to further the mandate or efficiency of an agency or municipality. Whether these assertions are correct or not, the fact is that in the grand scheme of things, requests for records which may seem petty to some, may be a serious issue for certain citizens whose right to make a request is protected by the ATIPPA. The legislation does not provide for or allow this Office to pick and choose whether an access request is important, useful or frivolous. Referring back to the above examples, politicians who appreciate that their expenses may become public might be a little more conscious of thrift when traveling, while public bodies preparing to dismiss an employee may be a little more sensitive and professional in their human resources practices.
The bottom line is that it is inevitable that the public’s recourse to access laws will likely grow. Whether they are policy, financial, economic, political or personal, issues are becoming more and more complex and the public is becoming more questioning. The right to demand access to such information, even if it seems trivial or unimportant to all but the requester, is still paramount in that process."
Edward P. Ring
Information and Privacy Commissioner
Annual Report, 2008-2009