Canadian Commissioner Makes 85 Reform Proposals

1 April 2015

The Canadian Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault has made 85 recommendations to bring the Access to Information Act up to international standards.

Her report, Striking the Right Balance for Transparency: Recommendations to Modernize the Access to Information Act, was sent to Parliament, but observers were doubtful of the chances of passage with the current conservative government.

Legault suggested changes including

  • extending coverage to all branches of government;
  • improving procedures for making access requests;
  • setting tighter timelines;
  • maximizing disclosure;
  • strengthening oversight;
  • disclosing more information proactively;
  • adding consequences for non-compliance; and
  • ensuring periodic review of the Act.

Canada’s 1983 law rates 57th in the world according to an index produced by the Canadian-based Centre for Law and Democracy and the Spain-based AccessInfo Europe.

“These recommendations, if adopted, would represent a bold step forward for Canada’s right to information system,” said CLD Executive Director, Toby Mendel. “And yet they are eminently achievable, as reflected in laws in countries around the world, such as those of India and Serbia, which already meet those standards.”

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