Yukon Ombudsman Yukon Information and Privacy Commissioner Yukon Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner

Yukon Information and Privacy Commissioner

Procedures for Managing Complaints and Requests for Review


Complaints

Subsection 42 (b) of the ATIPP Act authorizes the IPC to investigate any complaint made by the public about the administration of the ATIPP Act by a public body.

The IPC has broad investigation powers under this subsection but does not have the ability to make findings of fact and law, i.e. adjudicative authority to decide how the law is to be interpreted and applied.  In addition, there is no right of appeal under this subsection.  The IPC does, however, publish all investigation reports and responses to recommendations on the Office’s website.

Requests for Review

Section 48 of the ATIPP Act authorizes the IPC to conduct a review upon receiving a request for review from a person (or a third party in the case of the last bullet) for any of the following:

  • a refusal by a public body to grant access to a record,
  • a decision by the public body to separate or obliterate information from a record,
  • a decision by the records manager to declare a request for access to a record abandoned,
  • a decision by the records manager to not waive a part or all of a fee for processing an access request,
  • a refusal by a public body to correct information or annotate a record,
  • a complaint that the public body improperly collected, used or disclosed personal information, or
  • a decision by a public body to release a third party’s personal or business information.

The IPC has broad investigative powers under section 48 in conducting reviews and may conduct an inquiry as part of the review process.  The IPC has adjudicative authority when conducting an inquiry to interpret the law and decide whether a public body has complied with the law.  Upon completing an inquiry, the IPC may make certain recommendations to remedy non-compliance.  After an inquiry is complete, the person who requested the review can, in certain circumstances, appeal a decision associated with a review to the Yukon Supreme Court.

File Management

The ATIPP Act authorizes the IPC to try and settle a complaint or request for review.

In order for our Office to effectively manage complaints our office has two teams: Early Case Resolution Team and Investigation and Compliance Review Team. These two teams utilize three file management streams: early case resolution, mediation, and investigation.

 

 

 

 

Early Case Resolution

All written complaints received under subsection 42 (b) of the ATIPP Act will be managed through early case resolution (ECR) unless a decision is made to investigate (see Investigation below)

Our goal is to resolve all ECRs within 90 days of receipt of a complaint or request for review.

Requests for review will primarily be managed through mediation or inquiry (see Mediation and Inquiry below).  However, a request for review may be managed through ECR if determined appropriate, such as when the complaint is about the collection, use or disclosure of personal information. 

The procedure for managing a complaint or request for review through ECR follows.

  1. Contact – An Investigator/Mediator from the ECR Team contacts the pre-designated contact for the public body.  If a request for review goes through the ECR process, the head of the public body will be copied on correspondence provided to the contact to initiate the review.
  2. ECR - The Investigator/Mediator and the contact (or designate) enter into discussions about the complaint or request for review in an attempt to reach a settlement.
  3. Settlement - If settlement is reached, the Investigator/Mediator sets out the terms in a letter and provides it to the parties with a request to confirm agreement. If agreed to, the Investigator/Mediator sends a letter to the parties confirming agreement.
    1. Follow-up - The Investigator/Mediator follows up as necessary to ensure settlement terms are met.
  4. Non-settlement of a Complaint - If settlement does not occur, the Investigator/Mediator forwards the file to the IPC to decide if investigation is necessary.
  5. Non-settlement of a Request for Review - If settlement does not occur, the Investigator/Mediator may send a letter informing the parties of the outcome and inform them they can request the IPC conduct an inquiry. A request for inquiry does not guarantee an inquiry will occur; it is up to the IPC to decide whether to conduct an inquiry.
  6. Publication – A case summary may be published for complaints or requests for review settled through ECR if it is determined there is educational value. Public bodies and complainants or requestors are not named in case summaries. Statistics about ECRs will be published in the Annual Report of the IPC and examples may be cited.

Mediation

Generally, only written requests for review received under the ATIPP Act will go through mediation.  Given the strict time requirements to complete a review under the ATIPP Act, most requests for review will go through mediation rather than through the ECR process.  The procedure for managing a request for review through mediation follows.

Mediation of requests for review must be resolved wihtin 30 days, or 90 days if the IPC authorizes an extension.

  1. Contact - An Investigator/Mediator from the ECR Team (where mediations are also managed) contacts the pre-designated contact for the public body.  If a request for review goes through mediation, the head of the public body will be copied on correspondence provided to the contact to initiate the review.  The Records Manager will also be notified about the request for review.
  2. Mediation - Mediation agreements are sent to the parties involved in mediation.  Once signed and returned the Investigator/Mediator contacts parties and attempts to mediate a settlement to the matter under review.
  3. Settlement - If mediation is successful, any terms of settlement are documented by the Investigator/Mediator in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the parties.
    1. Parties informed - The Investigator/Mediator provides settlement information in writing to the parties.
    2. Follow-up - The Investigator/Mediator follows up as necessary to ensure the terms of the MOU are met. 
  4. Non-settlement - If mediation is unsuccessful, the Investigator/Mediator may send a letter informing the parties of the outcome and inform them they can request the IPC conduct an inquiry.  A request for inquiry does not guarantee an inquiry will occur; it is up to the IPC to decide whether to conduct an inquiry.
  5. Publication - Statistics will be published and examples cited for annual reporting.
 

Investigation

Complaint

A written complaint received under subsection 42 (b) of the ATIPP Act will proceed directly to investigation where it is determined that investigation of the complaint is necessary to properly address the complaint.  Factors that may be considered in making this determination follow.

Our goal is to complete a complaint investigation within 12 months.

  • Serious or complex - A complaint does not lend itself to early resolution due to the seriousness of the complaint or complexity, such as a systemic complaint involving multiple complainants.
  • Resolution unsuccessful - The complaint could not be resolved through ECR in a timely manner or at all.
  • Education purposes - There is a need to raise awareness through publication of an investigation report or case summary about the requirements of the ATIPP Act.

The procedure for managing an investigation of a complaint follows.

  1. Contact – Opening correspondence is sent to the public body to notify them about the investigation and request a contact for the investigation.
  2. Investigation – An Investigator/Mediator from the Investigation and Compliance Review Team gathers relevant evidence, analyzes the evidence, and draws conclusions about non-compliance with the ATIPP Act. 
  3. Report – A preliminary investigation report is prepared.
    1. Consultation - The public body is provided with the preliminary investigation report to verify facts, consider the recommendations, and provide any comments in relation to the preliminary report for consideration by the IPC.
    2. Finalization – After reviewing the response received from the public body, the IPC finalizes the report and recommendations and sends the report to the public body.  The IPC requests the public body provide its decision by a specified date about whether it will accept the recommendations.
  4. Recommendations Acceptance – If the public body accepts the recommendations, the IPC follows up to ensure the public body has given effect to the recommendations. 
  5. Recommendations Non-Acceptance - The decision by the public body to accept the recommendations or not is published on the IPC’s website.
  6. Complainant informed – A final investigation report is sent to the Parties along with the public body’s decision in respect of the recommendations. 
  7. Publication – Investigation reports are published on the IPC’s website along with the decision by the public body to accept any recommendations made.  A summary may also appear in the IPC’s Annual Report.  Statistics associated with recommendations made in investigation reports will be published in the IPC’s Annual Report.

Requests for Review

A request for review investigation must be resolved within 30 days or 90 days if an extention is authorized by the IPC.

A written request for review will proceed directly to investigation where it is determined that investigation is necessary to settle the matter under review.  Factors that may be considered in making this determination follow.

  • Precedent required - A decision about the application of the ATIPP Act is required in the context of a review.
  • Education purposes - There is a need to raise awareness through publication of a case summary about the requirements of the ATIPP Act.

The procedure for managing an investigation of a request for review follows.

  1. Contact - Opening correspondence is sent to the parties informing them about the investigation.  A contact is requested from the public body.
  2. Investigation - An Investigator/Mediator from the Investigation and Compliance Review Team gathers relevant evidence, analyzes the evidence, and draws conclusions about whether there is non-compliance with the ATIPP Act. 
  3. Consultation – The Investigator/Mediator meets with the parties, discusses the conclusions, and attempts to obtain verbal agreement on a settlement. 
  4. Settlement - If settlement is reached, the investigation team member sets out the terms and any recommendations in a letter and provides it to the parties with a request to confirm agreement.  If agreed to, the Investigator/Mediator sends a letter to the parties confirming agreement.
    1. Follow-up - The Investigator/Mediator follows up as necessary to ensure the terms are met. 
  5. Non-settlement – If settlement does not occur, the Investigator/Mediator may send a letter informing the parties of the outcome and inform them they can request the IPC conduct an inquiry.  A request for inquiry does not guarantee an inquiry will occur; it is up to the IPC to decide whether to conduct an inquiry.
  6. Publication - A case summary of a settled request for review investigation may be published on the IPC’s website.  Case summaries do not name public bodies or requestors.  Statistics associated with these investigations and any recommendations made may be published.
 

Inquiry

Under the ATIPP Act, the IPC has discretion about whether to conduct an Inquiry.  A matter under review may proceed to inquiry in the following circumstances.

  • Resolution unsuccessful - A request for review cannot be resolved through ECR, mediation or investigation and the IPC decides an inquiry is necessary in order to address the matter under review.
  • Precedent required - The IPC decides upon receiving the request for review that it will proceed directly to inquiry because there is a need to clarify the interpretation of a provision of the ATIPP Act at issue in the matter under review or for any other reason.

The procedure for managing an inquiry follows.

  1. Decision to conduct an inquiry - The IPC exercises her discretion to conduct an inquiry.
    1. Decision not to conduct an inquiry – Upon receipt of a request for inquiry, the IPC may decide not to conduct an inquiry.  There are a number of factors the IPC will consider in making this decision.  If the IPC decides not to conduct an inquiry the parties will be notified of the decision and reasons for the decision.
  2. Contact - The registrar prepares a notice of inquiry to the parties and sends it along with instructions for submissions.  The registrar works with the parties to finalize and circulate the submissions and any replies. 
  3. Evidence to IPC - Once the submissions and replies are received, the registrar provides all evidence relevant to the inquiry to the IPC.
  4. Inquiry - The IPC analyses the evidence and relevant law and makes findings of fact and law arising in the course of the inquiry.
  5. Report – The IPC prepares a report containing findings, any recommendations to remedy a finding of non-compliance with the ATIPP Act, and reasons for the findings and recommendations.  In the report, the IPC also advises the public body of its requirement to give written notice of its decision about whether it will follow the recommendations and inform the parties of their right to appeal.
  6. Parties informed – The registrar distributes the report to the parties involved in the inquiry.
  7. Follow-up – If recommendations are included in the report, the IPC receives the public body’s decision about whether it will follow the recommendations within the time period required.  If the public body does not respond in time, the IPC will notify the parties that the public body is deemed to have refused to follow the recommendations.
  8. Publication - The IPC publishes the inquiry report on the IPC’s website and identifies whether the public body accepted the recommendations. Statistics will be published.

An inquiry is an adjudicative process and, therefore, completion of a report may take a significant amount of time.

 

Top