The Town of Northern Arm has been asked to review its access to information policies and practices and put measures in place to ensure it meets requirements under Access to Information legislation following a complaint made to the Privacy Commissioner.
The town failed to act on an Access to Information request seeking the town clerk’s journal and any town records referencing him.
Michael Harvey found that the town failed to respond to the complainant and also failed to respond to his office when an investigation notice was issued. It did, however, launch a search for records when the file moved to a formal investigation process.
Harvey found that the town failed in its duty to assist the complainant, failed to comply with the time limits set for responding to an access request, and failed to respond adequately to the complaint.
Harvey says in its “last-minute submissions”, the town stated that, at the time of the initial access to information request, it was dealing with issues, including under-staffing and staff turnover, particularly in the role of ATIPP Coordinator; ongoing legal actions with the complainant; and an additional privacy complaint, the latter of which it initially believed was tied to the Commissioner’s correspondence on the matter and did not think required a separate response.
Harvey says the town acknowledged that it had been notified that the matter was separate and required its own response, which it failed to produce.