I went to Newfoundland, by the way, and I met with the Newfoundland commissioner and with various stakeholders involved in the application of the new law. There hasn't been enough time to see if the Newfoundland model works or not and whether there's more judicial review being conducted in court in Newfoundland.
What I can say from my perspective is that under the current regime, we usually resolve most of our cases before going to a formal recommendation under the current section 37 of the act. When we get to those cases, there are less of them. There are around 15 cases a year that actually go to that level. Most of the cases are resolved before that.
When we get there, in most instances the government institutions agree with our recommendations. There are very few cases that end up going to court. That's under the current regime. I don't see that this is going to change under the regime being proposed by Bill C-58. That's why I don't see that there's going to be this shift in power, this shift in balance, that the minister spoke about—that there would be more reluctance from institutions to take the Information Commissioner to court—because that's the current situation. When we get to that final level, essentially there are two things: either the government is strenuously opposing the disclosure because it wants to delay the disclosure, or we have a disagreement on the interpretation of the law. Those are usually the cases in which we end up with those formal recommendations.
I really don't see that changing under Bill C-58. What would happen is that if the government institutions agreed to abide by my recommendation, then it would become an order after a longer period of time. I normally give them 15 business days. Now we're looking at a longer time period before the order becomes an actual deemed order. For me, the difference is really that Bill C-58 gives the government more time before it discloses information following my recommendation.
In terms of who takes whom to court, under the current regime, if the government refuses disclosure following my formal recommendation, I have the ability to take the matter to court with the complainant's consent. Under Bill C-58, it is the government that will take me to court—or, rather, the Information Commissioner. It won't take me personally, but the Information Commissioner.