uOttawa prof files grievance over release of documents

April 5, 2012

University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran has filed a grievance against Diane Davidson, the university's VP of governance, after she agreed to release documents related to his research under Ontario's freedom of information law. "The defence of confidential information, within the limits prescribed by law, is a cornerstone of the academic freedom to conduct research," Attaran states in his grievance notice. "It is disappointing that Ms. Davidson has chosen not to protect that freedom to the utmost." The professor was the subject of a series of sweeping information requests filed in January, requests he says were politically motivated. Stating that uOttawa administrators had in the past protected him from requests for performance evaluations and expense reports, Attaran argues that the university has failed to take advantage of 2 provisions in the provincial access to information law. He says the law includes an "exclusion" that places all documents associated with a university professor's research outside the reach of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. He says the law also gives administrators the right to demand any examination of documents by the commissioner be done at the university. Ottawa Citizen