Reporter’s And Individual’s Requests For Information Compared

How does a reporter’s experience compare to the average residential taxpayer where there may not be an incentive to quickly comply with requests for information?

Julie Kotsis, the Windsor Star, reported that Amherstburg CAO John Miceli responded to her email on Day 2.

My experience requesting information from the Town of Amherstburg and Windsor Police differs.

For example, information that should have been readily available required an almost two-year formal appeal process and an Order for the town to search for more records. Windsor Police objected to the disclosure of its Amherstburg policing proposal which resulted in a two-year wait for an Information and Privacy Commission Order to disclose all but two pages of the 131- page document.

Mayor DiCarlo advised the appropriate avenue was through a written inquiry sent to Windsor Police for information pertaining to the utilization of specialty units in the town of Amherstburg since the take-over.

Windsor Police referred me to the company that conducted its telephone survey, which did not respond. Back to Windsor Police who directed me to submit a Freedom of Information request.

Most recently, the town of Amherstburg insists it is fair to impose an $892.50 fee to complete a request for detailed information that the clerk and CAO publicly stated during a council meeting.

Over a year ago, I requested councillors consider creating a protocol to answer taxpayers’ and media inquiries. In response, the CAO advised the town is in the process of creating a Routine Disclosure and Active Dissemination Policy and, until adopted, requested that all information I seek be made through the formal process.

I repeated my request in April this year for council to adopt the Information and Privacy Commissioner recommended Routine Disclosure and Active Dissemination Policy, revised in 1998.

The town clerk advised COVID impacted services and only Councillor Prue supported it and reminded members of council that during the last election, they all said we need more openness and citizen involvement.

I wonder which will come first; a policy or more campaign promises to be open, transparent and accountable.

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Leamington Can’t, Amherstburg Can Afford Windsor Police

CBC reports, Windsor police proposal too pricey for Leamington council; OPP service to continue.

“At Monday’s meeting, council discussed a report from administration that looked at the WPS proposal. It showed that it would cost $9.4 million dollars to begin using WPS through 2022, which is more than $3 million dollars over the $6.1 million it would pay to continue using the OPP for the same period.

Administration said that would mean a 13 per cent raise in municipal taxes for property owners and it would equate to an average of a an average raise of $232 dollars per household.”

Mayor DiCarlo: Appropriate Avenue is FOI Request To Windsor Police

theburgwatch inquiry to Mayor DiCarlo was for the number of times in each of the past two years that Windsor Police has had to utilize specialty units in the town of Amherstburg. (November 26)

Mayor DiCarlo: The appropriate avenue to get that information is through a written inquiry sent to the Windsor Police Freedom of Information Coordinator, Shelley Gray.  I have copied her on this email. (November 28)

theburgwatch: Given recent emails, i thought you were the appropriate person, “I follow up with all taxpayer requests for information wherever and however possible.  I also follow up with the media in the same way.”

How disappointing that requests for information require formal requests; maybe a new policy is required to increase transparency? (November 28)

related posts:

Windsor Police Requires FOI Request – Telephone Survey
Windsor Police Proposal Requires FOI Application

Windsor Police Requires FOI Request – Telephone Survey

I hoped the Windsor Police Service would disclose the survey questions put to residents via phone but, once again, Windsor Police requires a formal FOI request.

theburgwatch requested a copy of the Windsor Police Service survey questions to post here. (November 12)

WPS: The survey is now complete, and no further phone calls from the initiative are anticipated. If you do still seek the questions, I would refer you to LEGER – as they conducted the survey. (November 16)

LEGER has not responded. i would like a copy of any Request for Tenders, quotes, etc. for the Windsor Police Survey, as well as a copy of the purchase order/contract with LEGER for the same. thank you. (November 26)

WPS: In order for you to move forward with the below inquiries, I would direct you to a Freedom of Information Request. Step-by-step information on how to proceed with such a request is available on our website at: https://www.police.windsor.on.ca/services/info-requests/Pages/Freedom-of-Information.aspx (November 27)

related post: Windsor Police Proposal Requires FOI Application

Windsor Police Service Board Ordered To Disclose Additional Police Proposal Records

The Information and Privacy Commissioner Ontario issued Order MO-3927 regarding an Appeal of Windsor Police’s decision to withhold access to parts of its policing proposal to Amherstburg.

Read Want The Windsor Policing Proposal? Pay For It for a detailed background that began in June 2018. Mayor DiCarlo advised the Windsor response would be made public.

Windsor Police relied on several reasons for its decision, including discretionary exemptions: sections 11(f) (economic and other interests), 6(1)(b) (closed meeting), 8(1)(c) (reveal investigative techniques and procedures), (e) (endanger life or safety), (g) (intelligence information), (i) (security) and (l) (facilitate commission of an unlawful act).

ORDER:

  1. I do not uphold WPSB’s decision that section 52(3) applies to pages 23, 24, 28, 29 and 32 of the record and order it to issue an access decision with respect to the these pages. For the purposes of the procedural
    requirements of the access decision, the date of this order is to be treated as the date of the access request.
  2. I uphold the WPSB’s decision to deny access to the information on pages 45 and part of 47 (the code information only) on the basis of section 8(1) (l) of the Act .
  3. I order the WPSB to disclose the following pages of the record: 33, part of 47 (the non-code information), 48, 49, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 64, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 122, 130 and 131 by providing the appellant with a copy of these pages by July 7, 2020.
  4. In order to verify compliance with order provisions 1 and 3, I reserve the right to require the police to provide me with a copy of the access decision and the records sent to the appellant.
  5. The timelines in order provisions 1 and 3 may be extended if the police are unable to comply in light of the current COVID-19 situation. I remain seized of the appeal to address any such requests.

UPDATE: Windsor Police Service Information and Privacy Co-ordinator requested a 30 day extension from July 6, 2020.

OCPC Decision On Policing Due By End Of August

The then-OCCPS approved the 1999 amalgamation of the new Amherstburg police and the three patrol zones on the one condition that no changes were to be made without the written permission of OCCPS.

By 2010, the three patrol zones were reduced to two and Amherstburg Police Chief Berthiaume was tight-lipped about deployment in the previous year citing the release of this information could reasonably be expected to make their work more dangerous in many situations endangering the life or physical safetly of our law enforcement officers.

The year had already passed so how very unlikely that addressing accountability would have endangered anyone.

OCPC has now approved Windsor’s proposal to provide only two patrol zones.

The Commission has advised its decision regarding the Town’s application to disband the Amherstburg police services will deal with the changes to the policing in Amherstburg since the Commission’s previous decision.

The full decision with reasons will be provided by the end of August.