The following is a summary of an important decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal that will be of interest to the access to information community, whether you are governed by the federal, provincial or municipal freedom of information statutes. For more information, please refer to our online subscription based tool, the Public Source, available at, your source for information about the federal ATIA, PA and Ontario's M/FIPPA. 

Important Court of Appeal Decision about the Advice or Recommendations Exemption - Ontario (Finance) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2012 ONCA 125 (Feb. 24/12)

M/FIPPA's exemption for advice or recommendation (s.13 FIPPA/ s. 7 MFIPPA) was held by the Ontario Court of Appeal to be broader than the IPC has hitherto interpreted it.  The Court, in a ground-breaking ruling, found that senior officials are entitled to advice on a number of possible approaches to an issue and the IPC was unreasonable to narrow the exemption to instances when there is only one  recommended course of action. The Court found that a properly functioning Parliamentary democracy requires the civil service to provide advice to senior officials on a range of possible actions and the exemption, reasonably interpreted must apply broadly to all such advice or recommendations.

Correction of Summary in last Email Blast:

In Order PO-3035, the IPC found that close to $1,000 in search fees were unreasonable in respect of a request for specified expense claims submitted in the recent five-year period.  The IPC noted that the University's records management process was "unwieldy and not conducive to easily focused searches... ."  The IPC noted that the requester should not be required to bear the cost of the inefficiency.  In our previous email we erred in not including the word "not" in the last sentence.