CBC/Radio-Canada has won its second court case in little more than a year against David Statham, Director at Michel Drapeau Law Office, on issues related to Access to Information.
A Federal Court of Appeal supported a June 3, 2009 decision by the Federal Court, reaffirming that David Statham’s case against CBC/Radio-Canada is indeed moot.
This case originates from Mr. Statham’s multiple access to information requests to CBC/Radio-Canada. Within the first three months that the Corporation was subject to the Access to Information Act in 2007, Mr Statham had submitted almost 400 requests to CBC/Radio-Canada. Mr. Statham had then accused the Corporation of not meeting the 30-day deadline imposed by the Access to Information Act on more than 375 or those requests.
Last year, the Federal Court concluded that CBC/Radio-Canada was not at fault since the Office of the Information Commissioner had proposed, at the time, a reasonable and realistic target date of April 1, 2009 to allow CBC/Radio-Canada to respond to Mr. Statham’s outstanding requests. By the time the court heard Mr. Statham’s case on June 3, 2009, CBC/Radio-Canada had answered all of the requests.
Both Courts declined Mr. Statham’s request to blame the conduct of CBC/Radio-Canada in this file. The Federal Court of Appeal also endorsed the findings of the first judge that Mr. Statham’s conduct was less than exemplary.
“This decision vindicates us completely”, said Maryse Bertrand, Vice-President, Real Estate, Legal Services and General Counsel. “Since 2007, CBC/Radio-Canada has shown steady improvement with respect to access to information. We have always been and remain committed to fulfilling our obligations under the Act while protecting our journalistic, creative or programming activities.”
As of November 19, 2010, CBC/Radio-Canada had responded to 1201 out 1260 Access to Information requests received to that date. Since April 1, 2010, the Corporation has received zero complaints for not providing documents within allowed timeframes.
Michel Drapeau, David Statham’s associate, has publicly admitted that his office has been submitting hundreds of requests to CBC/Radio-Canada while working on behalf of SunMedia, part of Quebecor Media.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus seven languages for international audiences.