Annual Report Sets Out Information Commissioner's New Modus Operandi For Fostering More Transparency in Government



    OTTAWA, June 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Information Commissioner of Canada,
Robert Marleau, tabled his 2008-2009 Annual Report in Parliament today,
documenting his organization's efforts over the past year to bring about
greater transparency in Canada by encouraging federal institutions, through
various means, to more readily comply with access to information legislation.
    The annual report describes the substantial improvements that the Office
of the Information Commissioner (OIC) has made to its investigative process in
an effort to enhance efficiency and timeliness. An important goal is to
eliminate the OIC's pre-April 2008 inventory of complaints by April 2010. The
report also presents the Commissioner's new approaches for addressing
system-wide issues which adversely affect access to information in Canada and
for maximizing his influence on institutions' compliance with the law.
    "Still, much more is needed to bring about a true culture of openness and
transparency," Mr. Marleau wrote. "To move forward, strong, concerted
leadership is required, now more than ever, from all quarters and at all
levels." The Commissioner called on Parliament to continue to press the
government to reform the outdated Access to Information Act and challenged
Treasury Board and all executive leadership to commit to the cultural change
required to fulfil the spirit of the law.

    OIC's Achievements in 2008-2009
    
    - The OIC registered 2,018 new complaints between April 1, 2008 and
      March 31, 2009. These complaints added to an existing inventory of
      2,293 cases, which partially resulted from an increase of over 80% in
      the number of new complaints received in 2007-2008.
    - Despite this substantial workload and limited investigative resources,
      the OIC closed 1,770 complaints in 2008-2009 compared to 1,381 in
      2007-2008. The average turnaround time was 13 months-the calculation
      was largely influenced by the high number of files in the inventory
      that were already several years old.
    - Of all new complaints registered in 2008-2009, 52% were administrative
      complaints-a relatively high percentage which demonstrates the
      persistence of system-wide or recurrent issues.
    - There was a higher proportion of discontinued complaints in 2008-2009
      than in previous years. In keeping with its inventory reduction
      strategy, the OIC was able to quickly ascertain that a high number of
      older time-related complaints had already been resolved and were
      therefore discontinued. In addition, more flexible mediation strategies
      led to the resolution and withdrawal of 290 administrative complaints
      at once.
    - Almost half (1,167) of the pre-April 2008 cases were closed in
      2008-2009.
    
    Today's report also contains a digest of noteworthy investigations
conducted by the OIC during the last fiscal year as well as summaries of
important legal cases which have involved the Information Commissioner or have
raised other issues of significance for the interpretation of the Access to
Information Act or freedom of information in general.




For further information:

For further information: Thérèse Boisclair, (613) 943-4368; For a copy
of the OIC's Annual Report 2008-2009: Maximizing Compliance for Greater
Transparency (http://www.oic-ci.gc.ca/reports/pdf/OIC08-09E.pdf), or for
general enquiries, please visit our website at www.oic-ci.gc.ca


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