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Access to information regime slipping into irrelevance?

By Michel Drapeau      

The time has come for the minister responsible for the administration of the act to have the auditor general conduct a system audit of the structure, machinery and performance of the ATI regime as well as the management and operation of the OIC organization as so to curb the current downwards slide of the ATI regime to irrelevance.

The purpose of the access to information legislation is to facilitate democracy by helping to ensure that citizens have the information required to participate meaningfully in the democratic process and that politicians and bureaucrats remain accountable. With increasing disappointment and much alarm, I am one of many early witnesses of an ATI regime that is on a slow (hopefully reversible) descent into irrelevance. Consider.  The Centre for Law and Democracy ranks our ATI regime 56 out of 89 countries. In September 2014, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression noted that our ATI “is severely failing to meet its minimum requirements, let alone adequately serve the population’s needs.” It went on: “In censoring information, the government is controlling and restricting public debate on critical issues that affect all Canadians.”  

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