YUFA members win court decision requiring the employer to comply with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

In light of the resistance the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario encountered in obtaining information from Laurentian University in regard to that university’s filing for creditor protection, a recent Ontario Divisional Court decision involving York University is encouraging.

In York University Development Corp. v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2022 ONSC 1755, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, rejected the employer’s request for reconsideration of an Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) order requiring the production of certain records.

The decision, rendered on April 1, 2022, marks the end of a six-year saga for two YUFA members seeking to understand why York would reduce the space allocated to the York University Bookstore, an important academic service, to permit the installation of a pharmacy at York Lanes.

The judgment is an important victory for access to information at Ontario universities. However, it is worrisome that the employer was able to stall for many years, thereby depriving students, faculty and staff of valuable information that would have enabled them to participate meaningfully in a decision about a significant campus resource.

YUFA is grateful to the two members, Jody Berland and Marcia Macaulay, who pursued this matter in the courts and who worked to ensure that the employer must provide access to records under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

For more information about the decision and its impacts, see Agnès Whitfield, “Impediments to the public’s right to information,” The Lawyer’s Daily, 19 August 2022.

See also “Playing hide and seek with public records,” Centre for Free Expression, September 9, 2022.