Federal Access-to-information program overwhelmed, report says

Department’s Employees Blame Inadequate Resources, Bureaucratic Attitudes

The federal Access to Information process appears to be in crisis as the rising number of requests, along with the pressure of the Harper government’s promises of increased transparency, are not being met with additional funding and resources, a new government report indicates.

The assessment, based on focus groups with Access to Information employees, reveals that one department is so overwhelmed that it automatically implements one-year extensions for every request it receives “regardless of the pressure” and the Access to Information and Privacy Act’s target of 30-day responses.

However, Anne Kothawala, the president of the Canadian Newspaper Association, said the report’s findings accurately reflected the serious frustrations in the access community with a “broken-down, outdated system.” She said the problem had been heightened by the government’s failure to fulfil its promise to reform the Access to Information and Privacy Act and bring in new resources.

Read the full Ottawa Citizen article