Media across the country reported on the University of Ottawa’s tortuous efforts to keep its emails about former professor Denis Rancourt from former professor Denis Rancourt, in the face of an access to information (ATI) law request, followed by an ATI appeal.
HERE – HERE – HERE – HERE
The dean of the Faculty of Science first claimed that there were no records because he had acted alone but then records were mysteriously found (including several to and from the dean) after the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) Mediator asked for sworn affidavits…
A detailed report is HERE.
The IPC ruled (IPC Order PO-2915) that it could not order the university to release the emails because of a legal loop hole in Ontario’s ATI law. And the Adjudicator stated that he agreed that Rancourt should be granted access to his own personal information.
The IPC also then explained by letter to Rancourt that the loop hole anomaly (section 65(6) of the Act) was contrary to “world-wide trends favouring fair information practices”, that the IPC publicly opposed this loop hole, and that nothing about 65(6) prevented the head of the target institution (that would be Allan Rock) from releasing the documents in good faith.Therefore, Rancourt, armed with this IPC’s endorsement, made a reasoned appeal to Allan Rock to not use 65(6) as an excuse to deny fair access: HERE.
Rancourt assumed that Allan Rock, given Mr. Rock’s Minister of Justice and United Nations credentials, would uphold democratic principles rather than choose a device intended to block fair information practice.
After more than two weeks Allan Rock did not respond or even acknowledge Rancourt’s communication as asked. He only responded after Rancourt sent Rock another letter (HERE) indicating that Rancourt was prepared to immediately take the matter (and other matters) to an independent labour body, the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
This got Mr. Rock’s attention and his staff (Mr. Jean-Yves Leduc) responded within the 24 hours suggested by Rancourt: HERE.
The answer is a resounding:
“No, I will hide behind my staff and behind 65(6).”And another reply says (translated from obfuscate-ish):
“and I will not process your labour law grievances about these ATI emails, about our alleged campaign of covert surveillance against you, and about our alleged interference against a graduate student candidate wanting to work under your supervision.”Clearly Mr. Rock is a nation builder.