A strong access to information system is vital to maintaining a healthy democracy. The public has the right to obtain the information it needs to participate meaningfully in the democratic process, while also holding Canada’s public officials and Members of Parliaments accountable. The current system is failing Canadians.
Our country deserves an open and accountable government. CJFE is calling on the Canadian government to make access to information reform an election issue this fall.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Make your right to information a priority to federal party leaders and your local MPs. Let Ottawa know that you want to see reforms to Canada's access to information system.
- Send an email to your representatives in Parliament with CJFE’s simple one-click platform:
- Share on social media: tweet using #ATIreform and #cdnfoi.
- Donate: support the #ATIreform campaign and CJFE’s important work.
DEMAND ATI REFORM
The Canadian government must support the rapid adoption of the following four reforms immediately after the election:
1. Strengthen the Office of the Information Commissioner with a larger mandate and order-making power.
2. Eliminate loopholes and blanket exclusions and minimize exceptions to the Access to Information Act.
3. Expand the scope of the Act to include all public authorities and other bodies which perform a public function or receive significant public funding.
4. Require public officials to document and preserve all records of their decision-making.
They must then undertake a comprehensive consultation to reform the Access to Information Act.
WHY IT MATTERS
Canada’s access to information system has fallen by the wayside:
- Canada's access to information law ranks 59th out of 102 countries that have laws. We're down from 51st just three years ago.
- A study of 28,000 access to information requests revealed that 57% of all data released was censored, and 18% could not be found at all.
- In some cases, responses to access to information requests have been delayed more than a thousand days. The legal time limit is 30 days.
- An increase in complaints to the Information Commissioner's office led to a critical shortage of resources. Instead of offering more funding, MPs suggested increasing the price of filing a request to discourage use of the system.
- 8 lessons on the state of our right to know in Canada
- Looking for Answers: Canada’s broken access to information system
- Information Commissioner calls for changes to access to information law
- Interactive timeline: Muzzling of federal scientists 2012-15
Learn more about access to information in Canada
Journalists, public interest researchers and other professionals share their stories about Canada's Access to Information system.
- The perils and paradoxes of FOI in Canada: Ken Rubin writes about 3 decades of digging up information on misspending, health and safety gaps, scandals and more.
- #ATIreform: Navigating freedom of information: CBC News' David McKie and Global News' Anna Mehler Paperny share their challenges and tips on navigating Canada's Access to Information.
#ATIreform: Freedom of Information in Hamilton misses the mark: Access to information in Canada isn't only in need of improvement at the federal level. Independent journalist Joey Coleman explores the City of Hamilton's troubling record on freedom of information.
Right to Information request reveals important ‘daycare deficiencies’: Madison Farkas lays out the refusals and delays that plagued one reporter's search for daycare inspection reports. They would eventually reveal troubling deficiencies in New Brunswick's daycare system.
- Why access to information is crucial: Four prominent Canadian journalists talk about what they go through with Canada's ATI system to get their stories told.