I received the following acknowledgement from an APSO Coordinator on the FOIPP request I submitted the other day seeking government records on the $4.7 million to Robert Irving.
Those initial acknowledgement letters for FOIPP requests are important to scrutinize: subtle changes in the wording with the way APSO workers restate the initial request in the acknowledgement letter can have huge impacts on the parameters of the search scope.
This is the letter I received:
My request seemed straightforward enough in my initial request. I asked for records in all formats “….that were either sent to or received from anyone at the PEI Potato Board…” My request came back to me in the acknowledgement letter after it “…was received by the Department of Agriculture” as “revised.” Wait a minute…no one asked anyone to revise anything! Nice try!
I immediately sent the following email:
APSO workers don’t have the right to unilaterally change FOIPP requests to restrict the parameters of the search in that way – delete two simple words that can easily be overlooked by an unsuspecting FOIPP applicant, and the result is a lot fewer records. In this instance, the number would have effectively been cut in half.
I received the following email response yesterday (June 4, 2020):
And we’re back on track….
It is not the responsibility of APSO to alter requests for information. The first thing that comes to mind is ,if the request is being altered to protect government, corporate or other information, then clearly the whole approach to Access becomes questionable.