Annual report highlights success in closing complex and sensitive files

OTTAWA, Sept. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault's 2011-2012 annual report highlights her office's success in closing nearly 1,500 files during the year—many of which were very complex and involved sensitive information. The report was tabled in Parliament today.

The past year saw a small improvement in the performance of federal institutions in their fulfillment of their obligations under the Access to Information Act. "While the access to information system remains fragile," she adds, "many institutions are showing that they want to achieve better results for requesters."

"This year, I made a conscious decision to tackle some of the most difficult complaints I had on file," Legault says. The cases in question include complaints focused on sensitive information associated with national security, defence and international affairs, as well as large groups of complaints against the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"After seeing improvements in institutions' performance, we stepped up our attention on these complex cases. As this report shows, we developed or enhanced a number of strategies to effectively investigate these complaints," Legault adds.

However, the report states that recent budget cuts in addition to the 2010 operating budget freeze risk compromising our ability to deal with demands of our current inventory. Any unexpected event that would impact the office's workload would create significant financial pressures on the organization.

"In light of limited resources and the increased complexity of the complaints we receive, the collaboration of institutions will be even more crucial to the successful operation of the oversight model set out in the Act." Legault says.

The report also summarizes noteworthy investigations and important legal cases over the year that raised issues of significance for the interpretation of the Act and access to information in general.

SOURCE: Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

For further information:

The report is available on the OIC website: www.oic-ci.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr_ar-ra.aspx.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Josée Villeneuve
Director, Public Affairs
613-947-2223


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