Fragility of the access to information system

Information Commissioner tables her 2013-2014 annual report

GATINEAU, QC, June 5, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Being able to request and receive government information about what impacts Canadians' everyday lives is fundamental to a functioning democracy, according to Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada. Ms. Legault tabled her most recent annual report in Parliament today.

However, the access to information system remains in a fragile state. "I continue to have serious concerns about the health of the system, and the resulting harm to Canadians' right of access."

The report notes a 30-percent increase in complaints to the Commissioner, including about institutions unable to meet their basic obligations under the Access to Information Act and about the use of the Cabinet confidence exclusion.

It also highlights a number of success stories of the Commissioner's interventions in terms of timely access to information and the release of additional information to Canadians. One such example relates to the Lac Mégantic tragedy and Canadians' need for more information. Through the early and sustained intervention of the Office, requesters were able to receive more timely access to information.

In the report, the Commissioner renews her call to modernize the Act to ensure government transparency and accountability.

"Administrative fixes to the system—which are bearing some fruit—can only take us so far. The urgent need to update the Act cannot be ignored," Ms. Legault said.

The report is available on the OIC website http://www.oic-ci.gc.ca/eng/rapport-annuel-annual-report_2013-2014.aspx.

SOURCE: Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

For further information: Natalie Hall, Manager, Communications and Media Relations, Office of the Information Commissioner, Tel.: 819-994-1068, Email: Natalie.hall@ci-oic.gc.ca

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