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It’s time to modernize Canada’s Access to Information Act, now

By Suzanne Legault      

It is every Canadians’ right to have access to government information, but there has been an erosion of this right and Canada is no longer a world leader in this area. The time is ripe for action to reverse this undemocratic trend.

Access to Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault: 'What if we could turn around the way we look at federal access to information provisions? What if when an access to information request is submitted, federal officials automatically interpret the act in favour of maximum disclosure?' The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

A more open and transparent government could be the result of the federal government’s plans to modernize Canada’s Access to Information Act. Since the act was enacted in 1983—signalling the Government of Canada’s intention to be open and transparent to Canadians—our system for providing access has become weighed down by layers of rules and delays. Somehow, legislation meant to open things up and ensure that citizens could benefit from information and keep government accountable, has produced a slow

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