Mediation Basics for Freedom of Information Coordinators
The IPC encourages mediation as the preferred method of resolving both access appeals and privacy complaints.
A person who has made a request under Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act may appeal any decision of the institution concerning the request to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC).
Mediation is the process by which the IPC investigates the circumstances of an appeal and attempts to effect either the full settlement between the parties of all issues in the appeal or the simplification of a file through any or all of the following:
- Settlement of some issues.
- Reducing the number of records in dispute.
- Clarification of issues.
- Education of parties, leading to a better understanding of the issues.
Within the Mediation stage of the appeal process, files are processed differently according to the type of appeal:
- Regular Mediation (the vast majority).
- Straightforward Appeals.
- Reasonable Search Appeals.
Our system offers a variety of mediation methods tailored to suit the particular needs of an individual appeal.
The main advantages are:
- A larger proportion of appeals are mediated, resulting in win-win settlements that are not available through the Adjudication stage of the appeal process.
- A recognition that all files are not the same and that a variety of approaches provide better client service.
- Allowing more time and resources to encourage the mediation of complex cases.
- Overall, it is quicker than more formal methods of dispute resolution and generally less costly.
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