IPC Order re Frivolous or Vexatious

On August 19, 2022 the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) issued an Order which may be of interest to other municipalities. The key issue is whether the appellant’s requests to the Town of Oakville are frivolous or vexatious under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

The town claimed that the appellant’s requests are frivolous or vexatious under MFIPPA because they are part of a pattern of conduct that amounts to an abuse of the right of access and that processing the requests would interfere with the town’s operations. They also suggest that they believe the appellant’s requests may have been submitted in bad faith.

The adjudicator found that the town has established that the requests are frivolous or vexatious, upholding the town’s decision and imposes conditions on current and future requests submitted by the appellant to the town, as well as conditions on appeals of the town’s decisions.

Of interest, the Order contains a discussion on “pattern of conduct” and if/when this pattern amount to an abuse of the right of access. The adjudicator notes that in this appeal, “it is irrelevant whether the appellant intended to burden the system because the impact of his pattern of conduct, culminating with his excessively broad and unusually detailed requests, has produced the same outcome, namely an abuse of the right of access”.

The Order is available here: Order MO-4241