Canada's New Government announces Coming into force of key Federal Accountability Act provisions



    CANADA'S NEW GOVERNMENT IS DELIVERING ON ITS COMMITMENT TO PROTECT PUBLIC
    SERVANTS AND EXPAND ACCESS TO INFORMATION

    OTTAWA, March 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Vic Toews, President of
the Treasury Board, today announced the coming into force dates of the Public
Servants Disclosure Protection Act and the expansion of the Access to
Information Act to additional Crown corporations. Minister Toews also
announced the release of the revised ethical guidelines for public-office
holders, which include guidelines for political activities, and the
pre-publishing of regulations on public opinion research in the Canada
Gazette.
    "In three short months, we have acted swiftly to implement the Federal
Accountability Act," said Minister Toews. "With today's announcements, we have
put in place four more critical elements of the Act to strengthen
accountability, make government more open, and change the way government
works."
    The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, which protects public
servants and Canadians who report wrongdoings in the federal government, comes
into force on April 15. This Act introduces specific penalties for offences,
including tougher penalties for those who wilfully impede investigations of
wrongdoing. The Act also creates an independent Public Servants Disclosure
Protection Tribunal and the position of an independent Public Sector Integrity
Commissioner.
    "This legislation will help create an environment in which employees and
all Canadians can honestly and openly report government wrongdoing without
fear of reprisal," Minister Toews said on the Public Servants Disclosure
Protection Act.
    Coverage of the Access to Information Act (ATIA) will be expanded to all
wholly owned subsidiaries of Crown corporations and to seven additional Crown
corporations starting September 1. The seven Crown corporations are: Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation; VIA Rail Canada Inc; Atomic Energy of Canada
Limited; National Arts Centre; Public Sector Pension Investment Board; Export
Development Canada, and Canada Post Corporation.
    "The Federal Accountability Act is about making government more open and
transparent. Providing Canadians with greater access to information. This is
democracy at work," said Minister Toews on the expansion of the Access to
Information Act.
    Prime Minister Harper has issued a revised edition of Accountable
Government: A Guide for Ministers and Secretaries of State that includes
ethical guidelines and guidelines for political activities of public office
holders. This edition reflects the Government's Federal Accountability Action
Plan commitment to strengthen accountability for public office holders. This
is the first time that political activity guidelines have been issued. Along
with the ethical guidelines, they will ensure the public confidence in the
integrity, objectivity and impartiality of government are conserved and
enhanced.
    Canada's New Government also announced the pre-publishing of regulations
on public opinion research in the Canada Gazette on March 31. These
regulations will prohibit verbal-only public opinion research reports and
require departments to make them publicly available through Library and
Archives Canada.
    These announcements are part of the implementation of the Federal
Accountability Act, which received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006. Through
the Federal Accountability Act and its accompanying Action Plan, Canada's New
Government has brought forward specific measures to strengthen accountability
in government. More information on the Federal Accountability Act and Action
Plan is available at www.accountability.gc.ca.

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    IF THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN ANY PRINTED VERSION AND THE ELECTRONIC
    VERSION OF THIS NEWS RELEASE, THE ELECTRONIC VERSION WILL PREVAIL.
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For further information:

For further information: Mike Storeshaw, Director of Communications,
Office of the President of the Treasury Board, (613) 957-2666; Robert
Makichuk, Chief, Media Relations, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat ,(613)
957-2391; TTY (Telecommunications device for the hearing impaired) - (613)
957-9090; This news release is available online at: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca


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