These appeals were received pursuant to subsection 50(1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1987 (the "Act") which gives a person who has made a request for access to a record under subsection 24(1) a right to appeal any decision under the Act to the Commissioner. Further, subsection 57(4) allows a person who is required to pay a fee to ask the Commissioner to review the head's decision to charge a fee or the amount of the fee.
The facts of these cases and the procedures employed in making this Interim Order are as follows:
1. On January 28, 1988, the requester made four requests to the Ministry of Labour (the "institution") for various occupational health and safety data (see pages 3-5 for a description of each request). In each case, the requester sought a fee waiver "in the public interest".
2. On February 7, 1988, the requester wrote to the institution's Freedom of Information and Privacy Co-ordinator (the "Co-ordinator") asking for a fee waiver for the following reasons:
"(1) The data is on public health and safety i.e. in the public interest; the data is not now known in this form publicly and should be.
(2) The record would be widely disseminated via the media/this researcher has a track record in providing data for public release to community groups/media/labour groups.
(3) Costs can create a barrier to this researcher using the Act."
3. On February 25, 1988, the institution responded to the four requests by providing four fee estimates totalling $9,165.00, and advising that fee waivers were denied.
4. By letter dated March 23, 1988, the requester appealed the head's decisions regarding the amount of the estimated fees and the denial of fee waivers. I gave notice of the appeal to the institution. The appellant included with his appeal copies of two recent letters addressed to the head of the institution: one from the appellant dated March 17, 1988, outlining his reasons for believing that the data is "clearly of a public safety nature"; and the other from a health and safety director of a major Canadian union dated March 10, 1988, supporting the appellant's fee waiver request.