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New Info Commissioner Maynard already making her mark, and reducing backlog is priority No. 1

By Laura Ryckewaert      

The Information Commissioner’s Office started 2018-19 with a backlog of 3,489 complaints, after a 20 per cent increase in new complaints filed in 2017-18.

A Quebec native with a background working for grievance review committees, Caroline Maynard, pictured in her Ottawa office, took over as the new federal information commissioner on March 1. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Canada’s new federal Information Commissioner Caroline Maynard, who started three months ago in the top job, is already making her mark. She wants to increase her office’s permanent budget to offer better service, revamp the office’s website, is reviewing the office’s internal processes, and has assembled a “triage team” to tackle the massive backlog of complaints.

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House staff say remote voting app could be ready by September

News|By Palak Mangat
Conservative MP Corey Tochor says the new application is the most expensive way to vote. A House official says the app has been developed using existing staff and budgets.

Stalled Liberal agenda awaits fall return of Parliament

The time is ripe for the Liberals to strike a deal on pharmacare, says former Liberal adviser John Delacourt.

Government spending tops $392-billion, and counting, for 2020-21

Spending by Employment and Social Development Canada has risen by $74-billion compared to last year.

Effective handling of COVID-19 pushes Liberals into majority territory; Conservatives must ready an alternative vision, say pollsters

News|By Abbas Rana
Canadians currently are primarily paying attention to the federal and provincial governments, and not the opposition parties, because of the economic and health implications of the outbreak, says Frank Graves.

Restoring trust to help in race-based data collection could be ‘impossible’—unless communities control the data, say Indigenous experts

News|By Palak Mangat
'A lot of the ambivalence towards collection is actually a fear of what the data is going to show, from the institutions that are now being asked to collect that data,' says Akwasi Owusu-Bempah.

Feds’ policing reforms should respect self-governance of Indigenous people, say experts, Parliamentarians, in wake of deadly, violent run-ins with police

News|By Palak Mangat
'Our relationship with police has been one of violence, from the colonial nature of everything that has happened in Canada,' says Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in Port Alberni, B.C.

Lack of privacy oversight could hurt buy-in for COVID contact-tracing app, say critics

'I get we're in a pandemic, and I'm very supportive of using the technology, but until I know that it respects the basic rights and has the highest standards, I can't see that it's going to work,' said MP Charlie Angus.

‘I felt silenced’: voices missing from Upper Chamber’s systemic racism debate, say some Senators, highlighting need for hybrid model

Senator Mobina Jaffer is among those who say the in-person-only approach to spring Senate sittings limited participation and worries it will remain in place when Parliament returns in September.

Mounting deaths stemming from police wellness checks a ‘wake-up call,’ says Senator

‘We need to address poverty and support community programs to prevent many of the situations that police are being asked to handle with guns and handcuffs,' says NDP critic Don Davies.
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