Flying Blind: The right to know, government obstruction, and fixing access in Canada


Date: Friday, May 8, 2015
Location: Room RCC 103, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

An informed public is critical to a functioning democracy, but in Canada the public’s right to information is threatened.

Our government prevents the gathering of vital information and fails to keep records of the processes used to make important decisions. Where information does exist, access is made difficult and sometimes impossible. Even when information exists and is accessible, too often governments and the private sector prevent dissemination of that information.

Join us for a day of engaging conversation as we look at the current challenges to creating, accessing, and sharing information in Canada, and work to create a path forward. Featuring experts working with the system and advocating for change, the day will provide insights into what needs to be done to permit a truly informed public essential to the future of a democratic Canada.

Conference Agenda

8:30 am: Registration

9 am: Opening Remarks

9:30 am: Panel I – Failing to Create Information

Rob Cribb, Investigative Journalist, Toronto Star
Munir Sheikh, former Chief Statistician of Canada and currently Executive Fellow, University of Calgary
Maggie Xenopoulos, Associate Professor of Biology, Trent University
Moderator: Ira Basen, Documentary Producer, CBC Radio

10:45 am: Refreshment Break

11 am: Panel II: Difficulty Accessing Information

Dean Beeby, CBC journalist
Jennifer Ditchburn, Senior Parliamentary correspondent, Canadian Press
Laura Tribe, National and Digital Programs Lead, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Moderator: April Lindgren, Ryerson School of Journalism

12:15 pm: LUNCH

2 pm: Panel III: Limiting the Dissemination of Information

Jesse Brown, Freelance journalist and media critic
Peter Jacobsen, Media lawyer and founding partner, Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP
Ivan Semaniuk, Science Reporter, The Globe and Mail
Moderator: Carolyn Jarvis, 16×9′s Chief Correspondent, Global News

3:15 pm: Refreshment Break

3:30 pm: Panel IV: We Know the Problems. Now What to Do About Them?

Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada
Tom Henheffer, Executive Director, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
James L. Turk, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ryerson University
Moderator: Lisa Taylor, Ryerson School of Journalism

4:45 pm: Conclusion: Final Remarks

5 pm: Conference Ends


Fee: $10.

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