Order 2001-016: Summary
DATE: April 18, 2001
PUBLIC BODY: Calgary Regional Health Authority
FOIP REQUEST: The applicant requested access to specific information relating to terminations of pregnancy for congenital anomalies. The information requested did not currently exist in a record and would have to be compiled from various sources. The applicant asked the Information and Privacy Commissioner to order the Calgary Regional Health Authority (CRHA) to create a record containing the requested information.
ISSUES: The CRHA submitted that the provision for creation of records did not require it to create a record for the applicant, because the requested record could not be created using the CRHA's normal hardware, software and technical expertise, and creating the record would unreasonably interfere with the CRHA's operations. The applicant disputed this and also alleged that the CRHA had failed to make every reasonable effort to assist the applicant.
DECISION AND REASONS:
- This Order concerns the same request as Order 2000-033, in which the Assistant Commissioner granted the applicant's request for a fee waiver in the public interest for any existing responsive records. The Assistant Commissioner commented in the present Order that making information on the subject in question available in statistical form would have the advantage of reducing the need for this type of access request.
- The Assistant Commissioner held that the CRHA had conducted an adequate search for records. He agreed that the information sought by the applicant was dispersed in patient charts and not on the face of a record. He also agreed that the CRHA had responded in a timely manner. The Assistant Commissioner therefore decided that the CRHA had fulfilled its duty to assist the applicant, as required by section 9(1) of the FOIP Act. He commented on the standard required to fulfil this duty and noted that the CRHA's efforts to assist the applicant were not exemplary, and did not comply with the ideal standard described in the FOIP Guidelines and Practices manual, but that they were adequate and met the requirements of the Act.
- The Assistant Commissioner considered in detail the Act's provision for the creation of records (section 9(2)) and decided that the Act did not require the CRHA to create a record for the applicant. Citing Order 2000-022, the Assistant Commissioner stated that this provision required a public body to create a record if it could be created from an electronic record using normal computer hardware and software and technical expertise existing at the time of the request, and creating the record would not unreasonably interfere with the operations of the public body. In this case, the information requested by the applicant would have to be compiled manually from patient charts and other records, and could not be created from an electronic record using normal computer hardware and software and technical expertise. Creating the record would also unreasonably interfere with the operations of the CRHA because it would require an extensive amount of time, a significant amount of staff resources, and would result in specialists being removed from patient care.
In his Order, the Assistant Commissioner requested that the CRHA provide the applicant with the statistical information it could generate using its normal computer hardware and software systems, free of charge. The CRHA was not required to create a record that would provide the information requested by the applicant.
SECTOR: Health Care Body