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posted on September 23, 2008

Canada's rusty freedom of information law fails to meet global standards: report (Access-Denied)

By: Jim Bronskill
Published: 21/09/2008
Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ Federal delays in responding to public requests for information have reached a ``crisis level'' as Canada lags behind many other countries on the openness scale, says a new report on access laws around the world.

Despite the problem, promises by the Conservative government to overhaul Canada's Access to Information law were consigned to ``the graveyard of needless study'' and never implemented, leaving the 25-year-old act far from cutting edge, says the report released Sunday.

``Ironically and inexplicably, Canada appears to be marching in the opposite direction,'' it states.

posted on March 31, 2008

Toronto Sun: What governments hide from you

Requests for information bogged down in bureaucracy

By: PETER ZIMONJIC
NATIONAL BUREAU
Published: March 31, 2008
Source: Toronto Sun

Is information really free and accessible? The people using the Access to Information Act to get government documents don't think so.

They point to new evidence that shows complaints to the information commissioner doubled last year, and delays responding to requests are longer than ever. New research also shows Canada is more secretive than some less developed countries.

Critics say it's time to replace the 25-year-old law -- which has never been reviewed -- with a more robust act that reflects modern expectations of government.

"It's time to ask if the act has adapted to 2008 realities," says assistant information commissioner Suzanne Legault. "We seem to have gone from a culture (when the act came into force) of having a right to know, to a culture of need to know."

The act was expanded last year to include seven Crown corporations, a number of foundations and some agents of Parliament, including the auditor general's office.

Legault's office faced a backlog of complaints from people seeking information that would have taken until 2010 to clear. In 2007-08, complaints doubled to nearly 3,000 from 1,427 in 2006-07, clogging the pipes further.


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Content last modified on November 08, 2008, at 07:50 AM EST