Canada’s Information Commissioner laments federal resistance to transparency

Canada’s information watchdog leveled a blistering attack at the federal government in his annual report tabled Monday. John Reid said:

  • A “deep distrust” of the federal freedom-of-information law remains entrenched within government.
  • The government’s proposed whistleblowing legislation for the public service is actually a legal instrument for covering up alleged government wrongdoing for periods of 20 years.
  • A provision in the Anti-Terrorism Act allows the government to stop an investigation by the information commissioner into a federal refusal to disclose material considered sensitive to national security.
  • The new Ethics Commissioner’s Office is not covered by the access act even though its predecessor, the Office of the Ethics Counsellor, was covered.
  • The Commissioner’s office has been denied the money to do its job properly. As a result, the median time to complete an investigation rose to almost 7.5 months in 2004-05 from about 5.5 months the previous year.

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Read the Information Commissioner’s Annual Report