Hamilton City Hall Credit: Joey Coleman

Hamilton City Clerk Andrea Holland has again ignored Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner.

In a ruling released on June 21, the IPC states Holland’s Office failed to submit any representations to the IPC’s adjudicative process, despite the IPC contacting the Clerks numerous times to remind them of their obligations under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

“I sought representations from the city by sending them a Notice of Inquiry, but did not receive representations from them,” writes IPC Adjudicator Cathy Hamilton. “IPC staff contacted the city by email on two occasions to ask when the city would be providing representations. The city confirmed that they had received the Notice of Inquiry and advised staff they would be providing representations to the IPC. However, the city has not submitted any representations, nor did it request an extension of time in which to submit their representations to the IPC.”

A person filed a freedom of information request for “records relating to the cutting down of a tree.”

The Office of the City Clerk denied the FOI request stating the records were already “published or available to the public.”

The City did not disclose where, when, or how the records were published.

The requestor filed an appeal to the IPC, arguing the records were not publicly available.

The IPC directed the appeal to mediation. The City Clerk “did not respond to the mediator,” the IPC states.

Adjudication followed, with the Office of the City Clerk misleading the IPC that it would make representations.

The IPC has ordered the City to release the record.

The City of Hamilton Clerks have been repeatedly cited by the IPC for failing to following the freedom of information process. MO-3752-I MO-3752-I MO-3764-I MO-3771.

In MO-3771, an IPC Adjudicator publicly chastised the City Clerk, writing:

“I feel it necessary to point out that the city … did not participate in the inquiry of the appeal. I remind the city of its obligations as an institution under the Act” after the City Clerks “did not respond to the letter or to the mediator’s voice message.”

In November, the IPC had to order the City Clerks’ Manager of Records to explain how the City’s FOI office can claim not to have basic records it is required to keep by law.

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Published: June 30, 2023
Last edited: June 30, 2023
Author: Joey Coleman
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