The following estimated timelines are in effect for the processing, investigation and formal decision making processes in relation to a request for review or privacy complaint, with an explanation of what happens during each step in the timeline.
It could take more or less time depending on a number of factors.
- 3 to 6 months to receive confirmation from us about whether we will or will not investigate your matter.
During this time, we determine whether you have provided enough basic information (facts) to investigate your request for review or privacy complaint, and we ensure that we are able, or have the jurisdiction, to investigate your matter.
For example, if you submit a privacy complaint, we determine whether you have provided us with the basic information on which you are relying to show that your personal information was collected, used or disclosed in a way that Alberta’s privacy legislation does not allow. Specifically, we look for your basic information or facts about:
- What personal information was involved
- Who was involved
- When the matter happened
- Where the matter occurred
- Why Alberta’s privacy legislation does not allow this
We cannot investigate your complaint if you do not provide these facts.
The OIPC may need to follow up with you during this time to gather more information. If we need more information from you, it may take more time to decide whether we will or will not investigate your matter.
- 12 months to investigate or mediate a request for review or privacy complaint and to make findings and recommendations.
For a request for review, the number of pages needing to be reviewed or the number of exceptions to disclosure applied to withhold information can add to the time it takes the OIPC to investigate and make findings and recommendations.
For privacy complaints, the number of people or organizations involved, whether witnesses are involved, whether security video recordings need to be reviewed or other complex issues can add to the time it takes to investigate and make findings and recommendations.
Generally, the investigation of your matter is among dozens of other cases that OIPC staff will be investigating at any given time. Additionally, your personal schedule, as well as the schedules of employees from a public body, health custodian or private sector organization can add to the time it takes to investigate and make findings and recommendations.
- 18 months or more to conduct an inquiry (adjudicate) and make a formal decision (order) on a request for review or privacy complaint, if investigation/mediation does not resolve the matter and the Commissioner decides to conduct an inquiry. This estimated timeline starts when the Commissioner has decided to conduct an inquiry.
If you disagree with the findings and recommendations resulting from the investigation, you may request an inquiry and provide your reasons to the Commissioner as to why an inquiry should be conducted. The Commissioner will then decide whether to conduct an inquiry. Not all requests for an inquiry are accepted.
In an inquiry, an Adjudicator delegated by the Commissioner to conduct the inquiry receives information from all parties involved and decides all issues of fact and law.
The Adjudicator does not review or evaluate the investigation findings and recommendations.
Once the Adjudicator makes a decision, a binding order is issued. Orders are final. A party can ask the court to judicially review an OIPC decision. The court’s process is typically lengthy.
Click here for more information on OIPC Inquiries/Adjudication.