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There have been approximately 800 Orders issued by the OIPC, a majority of which have been issued under the FOIP Act.

Inquiries

Questions

Questions regarding the inquiry process should be addressed to the Registrar of Inquiries in the Adjudication Unit at 780-422-6860 or toll free within Alberta at 1-888-878-4044.

What is an inquiry?

An inquiry is the final stage of a review or a complaint. Inquiries are formal adjudicative proceedings in which the Commissioner, or a delegated Adjudicator, receives submissions from all parties involved in the matter and decides all issues of fact and law. The inquiry process is not an evaluation or review of the investigation/mediation process or of the findings of the Senior Information and Privacy Manager. Inquiries by the Commissioner or Adjudicator are heard “de novo” meaning “from the beginning”. Inquiries can take place in written or oral form, at the discretion of the Commissioner or Adjudicator.

An inquiry concludes with the issuance of an order. The decision made by the Commissioner or a delegated Adjudicator in an order is final, and may be reviewed only by way of an application for judicial review made to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

Orders issued by the Commissioner or a delegated Adjudicator are publicly released. Copies of orders are available on this website.

It is the general practice of this office not to identify the names of individual applicants and complainants in orders (unless the individual is operating in a commercial capacity). However, public bodies, custodians or organizations are named in orders.

What is involved in the inquiry process?

The inquiry process is administered by the OIPC's Adjudication Unit.

Upon receipt of a completed request for inquiry form, the Adjudication Unit reviews the request for inquiry to ensure that it contains enough information for the Commissioner to be able to decide whether to proceed with an inquiry.

Should the Commissioner decide to proceed with an inquiry, the Adjudication Unit will inform the parties. Parties will then be provided with a Notice of Inquiry, which confirms the issues for the inquiry and the schedule for receipt of submissions. Please note that the parties are responsible for exchanging submissions amongst themselves, using the addresses for service that have already been distributed among the parties as well as the address for service of any named/disclosed affected party. While names of private individuals are not identified in orders, the identities of the parties involved are usually disclosed to each other during the inquiry process. The Notice of Inquiry may attach copies of any or all of the following inquiry-related documents: the access request/complaint; the public body’s, custodian’s or organization’s response (if applicable); the request for review form/complaint form/third party request for review form and all attachments; and the request for inquiry form and all attachments. To meet the requirements of procedural fairness, our general practice is to ensure that all parties have copies of these documents for the purposes of the inquiry. This practice may be varied in appropriate circumstances.

Should the Commissioner refuse to hear an inquiry, the parties will be informed of that decision.

Inquiries are most commonly held in written form.

Upon receipt of all related submissions, the Commissioner or Adjudicator reviews the submissions and issues a decision in the form of an order (described above). Occasionally inquiries are held orally. In that case, the Commissioner or Adjudicator hears oral arguments, as well as reviewing written submissions.

Upon receipt of an order, parties have 45 days to apply for judicial review, should they disagree with the decision. If there is no application for judicial review, a public body, custodian or organization is required to comply with the order within 50 days from the day it receives a copy of the order.