This investigation was initiated as a result of a complaint concerning a school board (the Board).
The complainant had filed a complaint of discrimination with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the OHRC) against the Board. The complainant was concerned that in response to five access requests (including three from the media) made under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act), the Board had disclosed that he had filed the OHRC complaint, together with the legal fees incurred by the Board in dealing with his complaint.
The complainant's spouse was campaigning at that time for re-election as a Board trustee in the municipal elections. The complainant believed that the information disclosed by the Board had been to two individuals who had wanted to tarnish his spouse's re-election campaign. The complainant stated that these individuals had subsequently sent an open letter to all parents of children enrolled in the Board's schools, recommending the election of certain persons as trustees but critical of both his spouse and himself. Attached to this letter was a list of the legal fees paid by the Board in defending itself against litigation undertaken by trustees and/or their family members. This list included the cost to date incurred by the Board in dealing with the complainant's OHRC complaint.
In addition, the complainant believed that the Board had also given details of his OHRC complaint to the media since a newspaper article published a brief summary of his complaint. The complainant was also concerned that the Board had disclosed his personal information at public Board meetings and in the minutes of those meetings.
The complainant believed that the Board's disclosures were in breach of the Act.