Canada Orders Fees Cut, Data Made More Open

5 May 2016

The Canadian government has ordered several immediate access to information reforms while it holds a public consultation on a broader package.

The Interim Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act “delivers on key commitments to make government more open and transparent,” according to the announcement.

The Directive “sends a strong message across federal institutions that government information belongs to the people it serves and should be open by default.”

More specifically, it tells federal officials to:

  • Waive all Access to Information fees apart from the $5 filing fee; and
  • Release information in user-friendly formats (e.g. spreadsheets), whenever possible.

The government is also consulting on proposals to revitalize the Access to Information Act.

Next, the Government will table legislation to implement the rest of its commitments as outlined in the President of the Treasury Board’s mandate letter, according to the May 5 announcement.

“The Act will be extended to apply appropriately to the Prime Minister’s and Minister’s offices; it will give the Information Commissioner the power to order the release of documents; and, it will require a full legislative review every five years.”

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