ONTARIO GREATLY OVERCHARGED ADVOCACY GROUP FOR ACCESSIBLITY INFORMATION

Jul 31, 2017

By Michael Kramer

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The provincial government significantly overcharged an advocacy group – fighting for information on accessibility law compliance in the province – and has to hand over the material.

That’s the decision of Ontario’s privacy commission – which says the Wynne government tried to charge the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Alliance $4,200 – for a wide ranging Access to Information request looking for details on many issues – including plans to make certain private businesses are complying with accessibility laws.

The alliance says it tried to get the fee waived – and the government enlisted five lawyers in its fight to uphold the hefty charge.

The government’s argument included the claim that the issues the alliance was seeking information on – had nothing to do with public health or safety – and were therefore not subject to a fee waiver.

But the privacy commission disagreed – and said compliance with provincial accessibility legislation did indeed have significant health and safety impacts for residents.

The government was ordered to provide much of the information in the request free of charge – and the rest was reduced to $750.

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