Adjudicator Orders U of O to Follow ATI Law Re: President Rock’s E-mails
In the past (e.g. HERE) , students have had to wait for years until adjudication at the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) forced the University to hand over e-mails containing their own personal information under Access to Information (ATI) law.
But at least the University always gave an “access decision” providing a list of documents and who they were sent and received by, following the submission of an ATI request.
Not this time. On Sept. 19, 2011 student Joseph Hickey filed a request (available here) for all e-mails between President Allan Rock and his former Chief of Staff, Stephane Emard-Chabot. Hickey’s request followed from a previous information request revealing Rock and Emard-Chabot’s discussion about administrative restructuring and avoiding elections in advance of forming the selection committee for the next VP Resources (link, link).
The University bluntly refused to process the Sept. 19 request, claiming that it did not provide “sufficient detail.”
IPC appointed adjudicator Daphne Loukidelis disagreed, and responded with a rapid-fire order (IPC Order PO-3043) forcing the University to respond to Hickey’s “clear and concise” request:
As described, there were a number of options available to the university in responding to the appellant’s request. However, simply closing his file – based on the seemingly erroneous belief that it required clarification and that the appellant would not provide it – was not one of them. In the circumstances, I find that the actions taken in response to the appellant’s request were not in accordance with the university’s statutory obligations under section 26 and 29 of the Act.
Accordingly, I will be ordering the university to issue an access decision to the appellant in response to his request. This order is to be taken to confirm the interpretation of the appellant’s request, which will serve to guide the university in processing the request in accordance with the Act.”
– IPC Adjudicator Daphne Loukidelis
Why would the University’s ATI coordinator, Tracy Murray, so boldly disregard the law and refuse to give access to the President’s non-personal e-mail communications?
The University’s transparency issues continue…