Thunder Bay·Audio

Thunder Bay lawyer says FOI request for fishing spot is without merit

A Thunder Bay lawyer with expertise in privacy says making a Freedom of Information request to find out where someone is fishing is "a case without merit."

Jordan Lester says official request for Mike Borger's camping location in Algonquin Park was 'creepy'

This campsite and lake used by Mike Borger in Algonquin Park this spring became the focus of an FOI request. (photo credit: Mike Borger)

A Thunder Bay lawyer with expertise in privacy says making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find out where someone is fishing is "a case without merit."

Jordan Lester, of Cheadles LLP, says pro angler Mike Borger had reason to be upset that someone submitted an FOI request to obtain information about where he had been staying in Algonquin Park this spring.

Borger told his story to CBC last week, saying that the FOI request came because of a video he posted showing big brook trout he and his son caught at a secret location in the popular park.

Lester said the FOI request process was not meant to be used to track people in the bush.

"The whole purpose of this freedom of information regime is more to shine light on government actions," Lester said. "It's meant to be transparent. And not necessarily to find out where an individual has been camping."

Borger, who runs a website that promotes fishing and hunting lodges, said he did the trip in Algonquin as a father-and-son adventure on a lake he had not been to in years.
Mike Borger with brook trout he caught from a secret lake in Algonquin Park this past spring. The location of that lake spurred an FOI request to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. (photo credit: Mike Borger)

He said he shared the story and video via Facebook to show people the remarkable experience he had with his son deep in the park.

Lester said besides the privacy issues, Borger could also make a case that protecting his favourite lake is something that is important to him as an outdoor communicator.

"I think an argument — a very interesting argument — could also be made that Mr. Borger's fishing spot, is also a trade secret for what he does."

'Weird and creepy'

Lester said, as an amateur angler and someone who enjoys the outdoors, he understands why Borger shared his story with the public.
Thunder Bay lawyer Jordan Lester says the freedom of information regime is intended to shine light on government actions, not to "find out where an individual has been camping. " (photo credit: Jordan Lester, Cheadles LLP )

"You know, putting myself in Mr. Borger's shoes, somebody filing this request to find out where I have been camping, also strikes me as weird and creepy," he said.

Lester added that there would be various potential exemptions to this type of FOI request including the release of personal security information.

Borger confirmed last week the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry had chosen not to release the information about where he had been camping to the person who requested it.

He added, however, that there is the possibility of an appeal.