Without access to information, freedom of expression is a hollow right. Information is the raw material of expression, and access to information enables citizens to engage fully in a democracy and hold their governments to account. Without an enforceable right of access to information, free political speech, as enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is stymied. Canada’s Access to Information Act came into effect in 1983. However, lengthy wait times for responses, hefty fees for information requests and significant exemptions leave the system, at best, less effective than it can and should be and, at worst, neutered.
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