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How do I request a review?

This page has information about:

  • What a request for review is
  • How to request a review by the Commissioner
  • What to expect after you submit a request for review 

What is a request for review?

If you requested records from a "public body" or a private sector "organization" and they did not respond to your request within 30 business days, if they denied access to the records, or you disagree with how the public body or organization has severed the records, you can request a review by our office. 

How to request a review

You have 30 business days to request a review by our office, starting from the date the public body or organization responded to your request. There is no fee for requesting a review by the Commissioner. To request a review by our office:

  1. Put your request in writing. You can use our forms, or you can write us a letter or e-mail that contains all the details of your request.
  2. When requesting a review it is important that you make it very clear what aspect of your request you are asking us to review. For example:
    a)    If an organization has not responded within 30 business days, you may request that we review their "refusal" to respond to your request.
    b)    If you believe a public body has severed more of the records than they were   required to, you may request we review their decision to deny you access to records.
  3. We cannot proceed with your request until we receive the following documents:
  • A copy of your original request for records;
  • A copy of the public body's or organization's response (if there was one); and
  • Copies of correspondence with the public body or organization directly related to your request for records.

What to Expect

Our Case Review Team will review your request for review and all documentation in order to determine whether a request for review file will be opened. If we decline to review your request, you will receive a letter explaining why we are not reviewing.

If your review is accepted, you will receive a notification letter to this effect. Your file may be assigned to a case review officer if it appears there is an opportunity to resolve your complaint without delay. Otherwise your file will be queued for assignment to an investigator. Due to the high volume of requests and complaints received by our office it may be some time before your file is assigned to an investigator. When an investigator begins work on your file you will receive a letter notifying you that the file has been assigned, which will include the investigator's name and contact information.

The investigator will contact you and the public body or organization and attempt to mediate a resolution. The goal of mediation is to ensure the applicant receives all the information they are entitled to under the applicable legislation. In certain circumstances, the OIPC may consider a matter settled and decline to continue with a review.

If the investigator believes more information should be released and the public body or organization disagrees,the investigator may refer the matter to a formal inquiry. An inquiry may result in a legally-binding order. If either party does not agree with the order, they may seek a "judicial review" or our decision in the BC Supreme Court. Parties are responsible for the costs of the court appeal.

If you wish to know the status of your review file before it has been assigned to an investigator please call the case review officer who signed the notice letter. 

For more information regarding the review process, check out the Guidance Document section of our website.