Government of New Brunswick

The Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act provides for an independent review of decisions made by the head of a public body under the Act. 

If an applicant or a third party is not satisfied with certain decisions made by a public body in matters that affect them, they have the right to make a complaint to the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner. In certain instances, they may opt instead to take the complaint directly to a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench. Complaints can be made by filling out and submitting the appropriate form found in the (Regulations) and following the procedures set out below.

Note: If you file a complaint with the Commissioner, you cannot also refer that same matter to a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench, and vice versa.
    

How to file a complaint with the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner

If you submitted a Right to Information Request, you may file a complaint with the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner within 60 days after the date you were notified of the decision from the public body, or the date of the act or omission (as the case may be) if:

  • you are not satisfied with a decision, act, or omission of the head of a public body in relation to the provision of information to which you believe you have a right;
  • you believe that the head of a public body has inappropriately extended, beyond 30 days, the amount of time for providing information;
  • you disagree with the public body’s decision to deem your request abandoned; or
  • your request to correct your personal information has been denied.

If you have not received any response to your request within 30 days, you have up to 120 days from the date of sending your request to file a complaint.

If you are a third party, you may file a complaint with the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner within 21 days after the date of the notice of the decision from the public body (made under section 36) to disclose your information in a Right to Information Request.

Upon receiving a complaint, the Commissioner has the authority to try to resolve the issue informally.  If after 45 days, no resolution has been reached, the Commissioner will proceed with a formal review of the complaint and will issue a report detailing the Commissioner’s findings and appropriate recommendations. It will be made available to both the person who filed the complaint and to the head of the public body concerned.

If the Commissioner makes a recommendation that a public body should take further action, the head of the public body must respond within 15 days, indicating what action, if any, it will take. If the head decides not to accept the recommendation or fails to respond within 15 days of receiving the report, it is to be taken as a refusal to comply with the recommendations. Such a refusal can be appealed (by the person who filed the complaint or by the Commissioner acting on the person's behalf) to a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick.

In certain situations, the Commissioner may refuse to investigate the complaint, or terminate the investigation. This can happen if:

  • the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith;
  • having considered all circumstances of the case, further investigation is unnecessary;
  • the deadline to file the complaint has expired; or
  • the person who filed the complaint does not have enough personal interest in the matter. 
            

How to refer the matter to a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench

An applicant may refer a matter to a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench within 30 days after the date of the decision or notice from the public body if he or she is not satisfied with a decision, act, or omission made by the head of a public body in relation to a request for information. 

A third party may refer a matter within 21 days after the date of the notice of the decision made by the head of the public body is given (as per section 36), if the third party is not satisfied with the decision of the head. 

To find out how and where you can file your referral, please consult sections 65 and 66 of the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Information Act and the Trial Division of the Court of Queen’s Bench.

 A judicial decision on a referred matter is binding; no further appeal may be made.